Monday, June 27, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Imneizil & Bil'in, The joint struggle against the apartheid wall continued on Monday June 27th

The ruthless repression of the Israely state forces are restrained when Israeli activists are participating in the non violent actions against the apartheid fence which robe Palestinian lands. It is well known they have two specific sets of orders about which means of dispersing to use: i.e. what kind of amunition to use and whether to use live amunition or not, the Imneizil people invited the Anarchists Against The Wall (AATW) to join them. The Monday 27th demo was not the first act of struggle against the wall. It was however one of the most successfull. On Monday, villagers from Imneizil in South Hebron district (who was not reinforced that day by people of the AATW initiative as they were blocked by the Israeli army) brought the Occupation bulldozers to a halt.

Palestinian flags adorned the bulldozers which have razed 400 dunums of land here in the last week as villagers took back their confiscated land. Two Palestinians were injured as the Occupation Forces spent several hours pushing and beating demonstrators back.

Protestors assembled in the afternoon from the small village of Imneizil in South Hebron and marched to the hills and the worksite of the Occupation Forces and their machinery.
Villagers blocked the path of the bulldozers bringing their work to a standstill. Demonstrators rejoiced as they mounted the bulldozers and took back their land which has been confiscated for the Apartheid Wall and the expansion of the settlements.

Occupation Forces beat villagers forcing them back into the village where they will be ghettoized by the Apartheid Wall. There were two injuries as the Occupation deployed its standard violence and brutality.

So far around 400 dunums of fertile land has been destroyed and several hundred trees uprooted for the Apartheid Wall. Farmland containing grape, olive and almond trees - and which yielded the life source for the village - has been destroyed. The Wall will isolate land that is expected to be annexed into the nearby settlement of Metzadot Yehuda, immediately to the south of the village. One of the village's main water wells will also be isolated behind the Wall.

Water shortages are becoming an increasingly dire problem in Hebron district as the Wall's route has been planned to isolate many of the local natural water resources. A settler bypass road is also under construction, parallel to the Wall, which will pass just 15 metres from the village school. Located between the Apartheid Wall and settler roads, villages across Palestine are being turned into disparate and miserable ghettos, cut off from land and life.

See pictures at:


================= BIL'IN ===================

Bil'in, the joint struggle of the villagers continue, togather with the Israli anarchists and the wider coalition against the wall/fence. The struggle in Bil'in continues with determination and creativity. Every week for the past few months the people of Bil'in have demonstrated against the construction of the wall and the expansion of settlements on their confiscated lands.

During these months the people of Bil'in have become the symbol of non-violent resistance in Palestine; incorporating into they actions an extensive repertoire of creative elements in accordance to their commitment to direct action. Every week the people of Bil'in invented new and creative ways that included placards, art effects and communicates of political and humanist messages.

The suppression of the army try to deny the human nature of the Palestinians but the they succeed to counter act this and keep their humanity and dignity.

Last week, a segment of the fence - closest to the Bil'in - was cut by a group of young people from the village. There is a real danger that the military will retaliate against this action with severe force, using collective punishment against the local residents. This, according to the high rank commander Tsahy Segev who admitted to Miron Rapoport of Haaretz daily when he revealed to him his mode of opperation in Bil'in

In light of these developments -the presence of Israelis is needed more than ever to support this inspiring struggle.

This Friday there will be another demo in the village. All of you are most welcome.

For transportation from Tel Aviv call Yonatan

For transportation from Jerusalem call Amnon

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, The daily struggle continue - reports on Wednsday and Friday actions 25 Jun

The persistent struggle against the fence at Bil'in collect momentum. Friday action showed another sample of creativity. See the pictures at:
The village committee of struggle against the fence who persist in nonviolent struggle, using various sorts of creative approaches, succeed to keep the media interested, and time after time confuse for a while and astonish even the Israeli forces of suppression when they get early mornings surprises. Friday morning, around 06:00, a symbolic, but massive cage was erected on the route of the fence in building which robe huge size of the village lands. The metal cage was of 3X3 meter size, surrounded with barbed wire fence, within it 4 Palestinians (3 of them women), 3 Israelis* 3 international activists... and one goat. On the cage were hanged banners: "The darkness must end, The handcuffs must be broken". Other people converged around them.

After a short time, the army force arrived. After few minutes of bewilderment the commanders got together, and regained their position that no matter what is the message or the subjective experience of the villagers or what way the choose to struggle - the only thing that count is that all the area is a closed military zone. Thus, the instructions were simple: "all the people are trespassing". "The Palestinians who surrounded the cage are to be dispersed quickly". "Use all means needed, Palestinian who dare throw a stone you down his hand". "These locked themselves in the cage will be arrested".

Within a short while the commander with Zionist inspiration got diligent: sent soldiers to shoot tear gas and shock grenades in the direction of the not far away village of Bil'in. A massive bulldozer was used to destroy the cage.

The three palestinian women (and the goat) went out of the destroyed cage without resisting and were not arrested. The other activists resisted and were taken out by force. After few hours of detention at the site, the detainees taken to Givat Ze'ev police station and were arrested there. The Palestinian was released after deposition of the equivalent of 440.- US dollars bail till his trial. The Israelis and international released on condition they will not approach the fence for the usual 10 to 15 days. So it is when you are a Palestinian under the Israeli occupation - criminal just for living on the land.

Originally by Nurit Translated for ainfos

=================== FRIDAY ===============

At noon there was the usual Friday demonstration, suppressed as usual, with moderate mass of arrest's - 12 Israelis and three internationals. At the evening the Bil'in villagers dismantled a symbolic 50 meter of the concrete structure base of the fence.

"Today too a march started from the center of the village towards the route of the fence in building, that rob most of the lands of the village. 150 Palestinians, Israelis* (about 30), and few internationals took part in it. [The Bil'in village is a small one with only about 1600 inhabitants.]

Today message was focused on the objection to the damage of that project to the nature and environment. The demonstrator carried a "presentation" with pictures of pastoral view covered with barbed wire, with the header of: "The fence destroy every thing that is beautiful". In addition, the demonstrators carried placard with the famous drawing "The scream" of Munk, as protest against the new weapon used by the army to disperse demonstrators at Bil'in [as a testing ground]. The new gadget nick named "The Scream" is a huge loud speaker that emit a frequency that can cause head aches and belly aches. (Its use was forbidden in US.) [However, as it is useless when people put ear plugs... and as last time they tried it in Bil'in people were prepared, last Friday the army did not try it on us any more.]

The army, its brutality towards nonviolent demonstrations became a routine, put a barbed wire line that block the road near the last building of the village (500 meters from the route of the fence where no work is done there at Fridays).

When we arrived there the commander declared that any one who will touch the wire will be shot at. He also declared it is closed military zone forbidden for Israelis who must go away immediately... and any way the allotted time to the demo is only 10 minutes.

After about 10 minutes in which there was a stand still, with no one of the Youngsters throwing stones, the barbed wire was disposed of and we started to advance very slowly... and the army and border police responded as they "promised".

The Israeli forces stormed us shooting tear gas canister, shock grenades, new [experimental] rubber foam bullets and regular rubber coated bullets.

[It seems Bil'in Friday demonstrations are a favorite testing ground for the new weapons, and they do not make any more real efforts to stop the Israelis from coming to the Bil'in demos.]

During their assault, they arrested every Israeli they discerned.. [refraining from arresting the older ones of us who had some white hairs. One of us the oldies was detained by mistake, and was surprised when the arresting officer just "deserted him in the middle of the road..."]

After they finished dispersed the demonstration and arresting the outsiders, the usual attrition war between 40 of the village stone throwing youngsters and the Israeli forces.

Three of the demonstrators were injured by rubber coated metal bullets.

The 12 Israelis and 3 international were released after very short interrogation at the Givat Ze'ev police station.

Few hours after the demo inhabitants of the village dismantled about 50 meters of the concrete structure on the route of the fence on which the fence is supposed to be erected.

As the army do lately frequently, and more so after the harming of the fence, it is most probable the army will intensify the nightly harassment in the village.

Israelis presence is most needed [as it restrain the harassment a bit].

Interested can contact 972-(0)52-3928592

=================MEDIA =========================
Israeli news agency reports:
About 100 activists of the left and Palestinians demonstrated near the separation fence near the village Bil'in - West of Ramalla.

The electronic media reports: Bil'in: according to the anarchists claim, 10 Israelis were arrested.
Activists of the left who participated in the demonstration today told Nana news that the army detained 10 of the demonstrators. The demonstrators claim it was nonviolent demonstration in which participated 150 people, and the stone throwing started only after the army open fire on them with means for dispersing demonstrations.

The army spokesperson deny that claim.....

Bil'in, Border police person was lightly injured from stone throwing during dispersing a demonstration against the separation fence at Bil'in - so says the army spokesperson.

Activists of the left dismantled 50 meter of the separation fence which pass in the village area, between Ramalla and Modi'in.

In the website of the Israeli daily Jerusalem post:

Jun. 24, 2005 15:44 | Updated Jun. 24, 2005 18:03 7 wounded in Bil'in anti-fence rally

Border Police use teargas to disperse a group of Palestinian, Israeli and foreign demonstrators during a protest against the construction of the security fence near the village of Bill's Photo: AP [File]

Security fence
Photo: Ariel Jerozolimski

A border policeman and at least six demonstrators were lightly wounded Friday during a protest of some 200 Palestinians, Israelis and international activists against the West Bank security fence in the village of Bil'in, east of Modi'in.

According to the police, 12 Israeli demonstrators and three foreigners were arrested during the demonstration and taken to the Givat Ze'ev station for investigation. The arrests came after the demonstration had turned violent and security forces declared the area a closed military zone.

Bil'in has been the site of nearly weekly demonstrations by groups opposed to the construction of the fence.

Yonatan Pollak, a member of Anarchists Against the Wall, told The Jerusalem Post that security forces fired rubber bullets at the demonstrators, wounding several Palestinians, one Israeli and one foreign activist.

Pollak said the Israeli demonstrator "was wounded in his back from the barbed wire and from being dragged during his arrest."

The IDF described the protest as a violent demonstration, during which security forces were pelted with stones, resulting in the wounding of one policeman. Security forces were forced to disperse the demonstrators with tear gas and rubber bullets, according to the army.

Pollak told the Post that the demonstration was intended to protest "wall construction on the village's land and the blueprints of a new settlement to be constructed there."

Once the demonstration began, Pollak said, the army erected a barbed-wire fence and declared the area a closed military zone. "Whenever there's a demonstration involving Israelis and Palestinians the army automatically declares a closed military zone, using its authority to block peaceful demonstrations, which is obviously not what it was meant for."

Demonstrators also said that the army gave the protestors 10 minutes to disperse. Pollak said that when the allotted time passed, soldiers charged at the demonstrators, at which point the demonstration turned violent.

According to Pollak, members of Hamas who are residents of Bil'in also participated in the demonstration. "Every demonstration includes members of Hamas from the village. High personages in the organization have been there previously, but did not participate in today's protest," he said.

Earlier this month, head of Hamas in the West Bank, Hassan Youssef, participated in the joint Israeli-Palestinian demonstration against the construction of the fence in Bil'in. Youssef told the Post at the time that he felt comfortable joining a protest that included Israeli demonstrators, and that he would be willing to join hands "with anyone who speaks out against the occupation," including Israelis.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Hirbet Imnezil, a new front in the joint struggle... and Bil'in 23 Jun

"I arrived at Hirbet Imnezil on Sunday, with few other from the Anarchist against the fence group. We joined the first demonstration there against the fence.
Being there the first activity of this kind was apparent. Especially the encounter with Israeli activists and the expressions of despair on the faces of the villagers - especially these of the oldest people.
Hirbet Imnezil located in the South Hebron mountain region. Near it the settlement Bit Yatir/Metsudat Yehuda. (The double names is a known trick of the settlers, in their efforts to cover up their presence behind the Green Line - the preoccupation border.)

The settlement is obviously built on lands of Hirbet Imnezil. Before the 1948 war, their lands were up to Tel Arad where now stands the Israeli new town Arad. The fence around the settlement surround a big part of the lands of the village. That fence is a "dynamic" one - during the last few years it is moved again and again towards the houses of the village and annex few more lands to the settlement.

This week arrived a new fence... the mother of all the fences. A kind of cage was erected especially for the bulldozers and the tractors made by Caterpilar company - the accomplice of the israeli occupation.

This week the works on the fence started by the leveling of the lands on the route the fence will be built along it. The original route [which was abolished following previous struggle and the verdict of the Israeli highest court of "justice"] would be annexing the village and including it on the Israeli side of the fence. The present route in this region is aproximally along the Green Line [the 1948 border], but the Israeli state did not give in regarding the Beit Yatir settlement. In order to include it in the Israeli side the fence is departing there from the green line and encyrcle it. In part of the activists organization the village is not even marked as it is a small place of only 150 families. Soon it will become even smaller as the fence annex to the Israeli side about 5000 Dunams (five square killometers). The orders of confiscation their lands arrived at March 2005. Few of the owners of the lands submitted their formal objections to the Israeli occupation administration. They attached to their appel documents of ownership. As a responce, they received an official letter - including in it the documents of ownership they previously attached to their appeal, with very short reply: "We can not relate to your objection-appeal as there were not attached to it documents of ownership". Big part of the lands of the village are not tilled - a fact that make the confiscation easier as according to an old law from the time of the Othman empire (dismantled 90 years ago) that said that lands not tilled for three years become public and can be confiscated by the government.

At the time we arrived there still were not works for flatening the route. (It is redundant to add that after we left, the works did start in ernest.) We started to march along the proposed route of the fence, stopping for a while at the well used to supply water for the school but will be on the other side of the intended fence. We continued towards the hangar of the Caterpilar equipment. There we mer the the army forces. They were not ready for the demonstration, and thus did not have the so called "means for dispersing demonstrations". They appeared as people just aroused from their deep sleep....
They did not have haterad in their eyes - just a deep gaze of contept. One of them asked me: "have you nothing to do in Tel Aviuve in such day ?" Another one complained he had to return earlier from his Saturday at home because of the demo. Their apathy depressed me even more than the gazes full of haterad seen on the eyes of the soldiers with the same role in other villages. The banality of evil... We marched around the encloser of the bulldozers, holding hands - inhabitants of the village amongst them boys and girls, Israelis, and internationals. At a certain point, we set down as an expression of protest in front of the heavy equipment.

Afterwards, we marched towards the fence of the Beit Yatir settlement for an expression of protest. This aroused a bit the soldiers. As they did not have regular means for dispersing demonstrations they become physical, pushing and felling demonstrators to the ground - including people with advanced ages... This did not stop the people from shouting: "No to the fence, no to the settlements", "No peace with the fence". At this point the demonstration ended and we walked towards the village center. The coming Friday there will be another demo at Imnezil - another village joining to the chain of non violent mass protest against the fence.

For further details:


====================== Bil'in ==================
Photographs of the previous week demo of the children of Bil'in on the day that the village's fate was sealed in the Supreme Court in Jerusalem.

The latest from Bil'in:
At 6:00 in the Wednesday morning today, June 22, ten people - villagers, as well as international and Israeli activists of the AATW initiative ... a sheep, locked themselves into a cage on the planned route of the annexation wall. Of course there followed arrests, but today the untiring advocate Peleg succeeded in getting all out...
Electronic Media reported:
22/06/2005 - 6 demonstrators against the fence at the Bil'in village were detained including three internationals activists. Part of them locked themselves in a cage but the security authorities succeeded to "free" them after a short time.
TV main (late evening) news program reported on a new link the chain of demos of the Bel'in villagers and supporters and showed a short part of the struggle of the state forces with the caged people.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Tel-Aviv, Refusing to serve the occupation* - press announcement 21 Jun 2005

Activists of the "letter of the shminists" [twelfth graders] demonstrated near the villa of the chief of army staff Dan Haluts lighting candles in the memory of the victims of the occupation: "refusing to be war criminals". About 50 activists of the "letter of the sminists" [signed by more than 250 twelfth graders supposed to be drafted this Summer] and other activist of the left** demonstrated in a garden near the villa in protest of the slaughter of Palestinian children by Haluts. The twelfth graders stressed they will refuse to take part in the war crime called occupation. They shouted: "Not Shooting, Not Crying, Refusing To Be Occupiers", and "Haluts Haluts Do Not Worry, We Will See You In The Hague".

In addition, the demonstrators lighted hundreds of candles in the memory of the victims of both sides who died because of the blood circle. They said: "since the beginning of the occupation died more than twenty thousands Israelis and Palestinians. The price is awful, and the only way to stop the blood chain is to stop the occupation. The occupation is a war crime and we will not take part in it".

Among the demonstrators were the conscientious refusenics Alex Kun and Eyal Barami that will be arrested the next day for a fourth term in jail for refusing to be recruited to the occupation army and will join Wisam Kablan and Misha Hadar who are already in the military prison.

For additional information:
Omri Evron
Aviv Sela

shministim (at) *
** Among them activist of the Anarchists Against The Wall initiative, people of the coalition against the wall, and people of previous years twelfth graders refusenics who served more than two years jail time.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, The joint Friday demonstration of Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals 18 Jun

The "traditional" Friday demonstration in Bil'in (for the last three months) started as usual from the center of the village (near the Mosque) after the Friday noon ceremony, on the road to the route of the fence. Many of us were holding plastic imitations of tombstones on which were written in English, Arabic, and Hebrew "inhabitants of the village Bil'in - cause of death: the separation fence". We were about 200 people - Palestinians, Israelis*, and internationals from Europe and US. At the outskirt of the village, when the road pass between the last buildings and an olive plantation, a big force was waiting for us, including Border police and army as usual, and not as usual a unit of the police elite task force.

They insisted as usual to block our march far away from the fence route, as they moved lately the imaginary line of confrontation from 200 meters from the fence route to 500 hundreds... in spite the fact that no work is done there on Fridays, and no heavy equipment or any destructible objects are at the building site.

Thus, the forces do not protect any other than the "honer and prestige" of the state of Israel that want to prevent any option for nonviolent protest against the fence and the occupation.

At the point of the road leading to the route of the fence, they put a provisional barbed wire fence and put on it a sign: which announce that all the Bil'in village and the villages around it are a closed military zone (enabling the forces to forbid presence of Israelis and to arrest offenders. (Like they do lately, they resigned to the limitation forced on the harassment of Palestinians when Israelis are amongst them, and arrest only when there is close range confrontation.)

About two minutes or less from the moment we arrived at the demarcation barbed wire, while people at the front are lying on the ground, the army started the experimentation of the new weapons. First they used the Noise macine - a big lowdspeaker that create unberable noise... if you do not use any kind of ear-plugs. As we all were prepared to it, the noise machine failed to disperce us and the forces started to use the other arsenal. A new kind of a bullet the size of a ping-pong ball made from foamed rubber or plastic, which cause a very strong pain when it hits. And of course the usual shock grenades, tear gas, and even rubber coated bullet.

When member of the comitee of the village mass movement against the fence, among other people at the front of the demonstration who did not retreat at the beginning of the harasement confronted the soldiers with words - calling them to go home, and the like, they tried to bruttaly arrest him. People around him who tried to de-arrest him - among them a women of the AATW* were arrested too. (A total of three Palestinans and three Israelis arrested at that demo - including one deep in the village when the special forces intruded into the village.)

As usual, the peacefull nonviolent demo turn violent after the state force assoult the non violent demonstratin. As usual, in responce to the violence of the state forces, many of the youngsters of the village start a protracted war of attrition with the state fources. They through stones on the state forces who try to deter them with tear gas, rubber coated bullet, and even some live ammunition.

Good photographs:
* About 40 Israelis of the anarchists against the wall initiative and the coalition against the wall.
Not as the usual procedures, the army did not try this Friday to block the Israelis from arriving at Bil'in. It was like a month ago, when the army alowed 200 Israelis to arrive for the Friday demo - as it wanted to try on us new weapons and tactics...

As we encounterd on the way to Bil'in soldiers who did not even try to bother us, it was expected that they will try on us that day new weapons... and they did.
Media reported widely on Friday demo, including short item in the main TV news program of the day.

Palestine-Israel-US, November 2005: Ramallah, Tel Aviv, New York: Three Cities Against the Wall Collaborative Art Show... 18 Jun

Art has the possibility to unite different cultures into harmony and to create new options for individuals, in order to live and work together for justice, equality and peace.
Three Cities Against the Wall is an exhibition protesting the Separation Wall under construction by Israel in the Occupied Territories of Palestine. This project involves groups of artists in Ramallah, Palestine; Tel Aviv, Israel; and New York City. The show will be held simultaneously in all three cities in November 2005.

Through this collaborative exhibition, the organizers and participating artists will draw attention to the reality of the Wall and its disastrous impact on the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians by the separation of Palestinian communities from each other and from their fertile lands, water resources, schools, hospitals and work places; thereby "contributing to the departure of Palestinian populations," as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has warned. The wall also robs and destroys the human spirit. Spiritual and cultural life cannot survive under these conditions, and we, as artists, find it necessary to fight this crime with the means which we posses.

This illegal Wall prevents the possibility of a just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as based on the universal principles of equality and self-determination. It prolongs this conflict and the suffering that results from it. Therefore we Israeli, Palestinian and American artists resist this wall and its devastating impact, and aim to call attention to the urgency of dismantling the Wall which threatens any peaceful future in both Israel and Palestine for all. The Separation Wall was found to be illegal by an advisory opinion given by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague on July 9, 2004. In its ruling, the ICJ stated: "The construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and its associated regime, [is] contrary to international law."

Curatorial and organizing committees for Three Cities Against the Wall, comprised of local artists and activists, have been established in each of the three participating cities. These committees have each invited the participation of numerous artists, each of whom has been asked to provide three works to be exhibited in all three locations.
In Palestine, Tayseer Barakat, founder of the League of Palestinian Artists and curator of Gallery Barakat, and Sliman Mansour are organizing the exhibition. The organizations involved are the League of Palestinian Artists and the Palestinian Association of Contemporary Art (PACA).

In Israel the project is organized by a group of artists and activists that came together to resist the wall through art and culture. Members of the group are also associated with the Israeli Coalition Against the Wall; Taayush; and Anarchists Against the Wall. These groups are very active in protests and projects, both in Israel and Palestine, against the construction of the Wall and the occupation, including protests where there have been many victims, Palestinian, Israeli, and international.

In New York, Three Cities Against the Wall is organized through the arts center ABC No Rio by a committee of artists and activists, a number of them associated with the radical comic magazine World War 3 Illustrated. World War 3 Illustrated was founded in 1979 to oppose the right-wing policies of Ronald Reagan. It has been publishing art and articles in support of the rights of the Palestinian people since 1988, when it published an interview with Naji-Ali. ABC No Rio is a community center for the arts that grew out of the housing struggles on New York's Lower East Side. Many of the organizers in New York participate in the International Solidarity Movement, Women In Black, SUSTAIN (Stop U.S. Tax-funded Aid to Israel Now), International Women's Peace Service, Jewish Alliance Against the Occupation, and other groups opposed to Israel's unjust occupation.

In the process of creating Three Cities Against the Wall, the organizers and participating artists are building networks and creating relationships between their respective communities to oppose both Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people and the Wall as a symbol of that oppression.

Yet while American, Palestinian, and Israeli artists are showing their work together in this exhibition, we understand that the relationship amongst them is not one of equality. The relationship between Palestinians and Israelis has been compared to that between prisoners and guards, with U.S. cittizens as the patrons of this prison. Americans finance Israel through their tax dollars; some also finance Israel through contributions to Zionist organizations. The Wall is horrifying because it casts these relationships in concrete, making Palestinian imprisonment more thorough and more permanent.

Ironically, there is also an opportunity created by the Wall: this physical barrier makes the oppression of Palestinians more visible. Artists can use the Wall as a metaphor to educate the public. We are working together because we understand that, by uniting our voices, we are more likely to be heard and will therefore be better able to inform the public of the true nature of this catastrophic situation. We also want to demonstrate that within the Israeli and the American public there is opposition to the Wall.

We are laying the foundation for building a community of artists across borders, and will demonstrate, through combined effort, our opposition to injustice and oppression on moral and ethical grounds, and because injustice and oppression engender a separation between peoples, preventing normal human communication between them.

We believe that the world of the future is a world without borders. We support the right of a Turk to work in Germany, of a Haitian to seek refuge in the United States, of a Croat to live peacefully in Serbia. Thus we also support the right of a Palestinian, a Jew, or anyone else to live in the city of their choice, to enjoy all the privileges of citizenship there, and to travel freely to and from their chosen place of residence. This is not a radical demand but a natural human expectation. The attempts of 20th century governments to control demographics through genocide, forced transfer and other coercive means have been a disaster and such policies must be discarded. It is tragic that at a time when governments in Europe are discussing the possibility of open borders, Israel is building a border of cement and steel. We oppose the Wall because it is a wall against the future.

Information and Resources About the Wall:
Direct Action Palestine
DAP is a New York-based group that works in solidarity with Palestinian non-violent resistance to end the Israeli occupation. We mobilize, train, support and fund activists to travel to Israel/Palestine and to bring their stories home.

International Solidarity Movement
International Solidarity Movement, (ISM), a Palestinian-led movement of Palestinian and International activists working to raise awareness of the struggle for Palestinian freedom and an end to Israeli occupation. ISM utilizes nonviolent, direct-action methods of resistance to confront and challenge the Israeli occupation.

International Women's Peace Service
IWPS Palestine is an international team of 16 women based in Hares, a village in the Salfit Governorate of Occupied Palestine's West Bank. IWPS joins Palestinians in acts of non-violent direct action to oppose human rights abuses and the confiscation and destruction of land and property of Palestinian people.

Jews Against the Occupation
JATO is an organization of progressive, secular and religious Jews of all ages throughout the New York City area advocating peace through justice for Palestine and Israel.

Middle East Children's Alliance
MECA is a non-governmental organization, working for peace and justice in the Middle East; focusing on Palestine, Israel, Lebanon and Iraq. Its programs emphasize the need to educate North Americans about the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy, and to support projects that aid and empower communities.

The Palestine Children's Welfare Fund
PCWF was established by individuals whose goals are to improve the living standards of the children of Palestine in the refugee camps inside Palestine. The group aims to provide the children of the refugee camps with better educational opportunities, health facilities and a bright future without violence, hatred and discrimination.

Al-Awda - The Palestine Right to Return Coalition Fact sheets on the Wall

Electronic Intifada: News and views on the Wall

Gush Shalom - The Israeli Peace Bloc Maps and other materials on the "Separation Wall"

Indymedia Israel

Palestine News Network

The Palestinian Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PENGON)

Stop the Wall: The Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Israel-Palestine, Jerusalem, The kids of Bil'in village demonstrated in front of the Israeli supreme court 15 Jun

Tuesday 14.6.05 morning, a bit after 09:00, a bus parked in front of the building of the Israeli supreme court in Jerusalem. From the buss came out about 50 girls and boys from the village Bil'in, who came to demonstrate against the robbery of the lands of the village for the building of the apartheid wall/fence. The kinds (who do not need a military permit to entered the 1948 borders of israel - the pre 1967 ones) were escorted by two adults from the village, part of the very few who have a permit to pass through the plethora of road blocks within the palestinian areas and between them and Israel. The kids demo was while the judges were dealing with the village people contest of the building of the wall/fence on their lands. They were joined by anarchists and international activists, that sang, placards... and functioned also as baby-sitters for the youngest.

After two hours of peaceful presence at the location, with no problems, a bunch of policemen arrived with the demand to put away the Palestinian flags held by the kids. Their "original" excuse to that insolent demand was: to protect the security of the demonstrators....

The adults escort who came with the kids from the village, were afraid from development of confrontation between the kids and the policemen and preferred to bow their heads and to try the flags from the kids, who were not quick to yield. An internationalist activist who was present there and was wrapped with a Palestinian flag, refused the order to take it off, was arrested and taken to the police station. Only few hours later he was released with out conditions.

The demonstration was ended peacefully after about 3 hours. The village kids used the opportunity of a visit in Jerusalem - Al Kuds, to a quick visit at the Al Aksa mosque (At the mount temple).

Israel-Palestine, Jerusalem-Bil'in, Media, Palestinian children protest against the fence 15 Jun

Demonstration held in front of Supreme Court in Jerusalem to protest land expropriation in framework of security fence construction work. Dozens of Palestinian children were brought Tuesday to stage a protest against the West Bank security fence in front of the Supreme Court in Jerusalem. They were accompanied by few adults from the village and 30 Israelis from Gush Shalom [Peace Block] and Anarchists Against The Wall. Demonstrators held signs with the slogans in Hebrew, Arabic, and English: "Enough with the fence", "Enough with the robbery of the lands of Bil'in", "Supreme court of Justice protect war crimes".

The protest came after the IDF prohibited the adult residents of the Palestinian village Bil'in to enter Israel for a demonstration.

The court is set to decide on the residents' petition against the building of the separation fence between Palestinian territories and Israel over their land.

"These children are the first ones to be directly hurt by this fence", said Akram Khatib, one of the adults that were allowed to accompany the kids. "We were hoping the children will awaken the compassion of the Israeli judicial system, but I am afraid the decision has already been made."

An argument later ensued between police and Israeli and international activists that accompanied the young protesters when the kids waved Palestinian flags. One international activist was arrested.

‘They're taking our land to build settlements'

In their petition, Bil'in residents claimed that if the separation fence is built they would lose over half of their land. The residents depend on the crops that they grow on this land, they said, and the loss will undermine their livelihood and honor. It therefore violates their personal liberties and their freedom to work, they claimed.

According to Khatib, the fence creates an additional problem.

"They are not taking our land just to build the fence. They are building settlements behind it. They are building five or six-floor buildings to use for settlements."

Bil'in, like other villages in the area, has been characterized lately by repeated clashes between protesters and security forces. The residents said they want to draw attention to their suffering and recruit as many Israeli and international peace activists as possible.

Over the weekend the children demonstrators in Bil'in used a new weapon to protest against the fence. They threw balloons full of chicken excrement in the direction of security forces.

Israel-Palestine, Jerusalem-Bil'in, Media, Palestinian children protest against the fence 15 Jun

Demonstration held in front of Supreme Court in Jerusalem to protest land expropriation in framework of security fence construction work. Dozens of Palestinian children were brought Tuesday to stage a protest against the West Bank security fence in front of the Supreme Court in Jerusalem. They were accompanied by few adults from the village and 30 Israelis from Gush Shalom [Peace Block] and Anarchists Against The Wall. Demonstrators held signs with the slogans in Hebrew, Arabic, and English: "Enough with the fence", "Enough with the robbery of the lands of Bil'in", "Supreme court of Justice protect war crimes".

The protest came after the IDF prohibited the adult residents of the Palestinian village Bil'in to enter Israel for a demonstration.

The court is set to decide on the residents' petition against the building of the separation fence between Palestinian territories and Israel over their land.

"These children are the first ones to be directly hurt by this fence", said Akram Khatib, one of the adults that were allowed to accompany the kids. "We were hoping the children will awaken the compassion of the Israeli judicial system, but I am afraid the decision has already been made."

An argument later ensued between police and Israeli and international activists that accompanied the young protesters when the kids waved Palestinian flags. One international activist was arrested.

‘They're taking our land to build settlements'

In their petition, Bil'in residents claimed that if the separation fence is built they would lose over half of their land. The residents depend on the crops that they grow on this land, they said, and the loss will undermine their livelihood and honor. It therefore violates their personal liberties and their freedom to work, they claimed.

According to Khatib, the fence creates an additional problem.

"They are not taking our land just to build the fence. They are building settlements behind it. They are building five or six-floor buildings to use for settlements."

Bil'in, like other villages in the area, has been characterized lately by repeated clashes between protesters and security forces. The residents said they want to draw attention to their suffering and recruit as many Israeli and international peace activists as possible.

Over the weekend the children demonstrators in Bil'in used a new weapon to protest against the fence. They threw balloons full of chicken excrement in the direction of security forces.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

US, Oakland, CA. Report of benefit for Israeli Anarchists Against the Wall (AATW) 11 Jun

Hello I. and K. ---- Hope you are both well.
Since you two were the contacts that put me in touch with D. and gave the go-ahead for the AATW benefit in Oakland, I just wanted to give you a brief report back on the event.
There were between 30-40 people in attendence. A few local bands played music, and D. gave an excellent presentation with films and slides and a good Q and A session at the end. The venue took a percentage of the proceeds from the door for its costs (as agreed) so after that, the total combined money raised from the door, merchandise (from t-shirts, buttons, patches) and donations came to $200usd. Not great but not bad either.

I was very honored to be able to help in some small way.
Maybe we can do another similar (and hopefully better) event sometime in the future.
Thank you and please keep up the good work.
In Solidarity,
D. H.

Palestine-Israel, Joint struggle in the new fronts of Marda and Ramadin and the older one of Bi'in, 11 Jun

Marda: Today, Friday, a demonstration of about 100 people - among them a few Israelis and internationalists - ended basically two minutes after it started, when the soldiers - standing hight above us near the settlement Ariel - shot massive amounts of tear gas on the demonstrators. About ten minutes later, police (Magav) cars entered the heart of the village, and continued to shoot gas, and apparently also rubber bullets and even live ammunition. For about three hours, a small group of youngsters confronted the soldiers above, throwing stones at them, and being attacked again and again with gas, until they came down. But when the demo started, there was absolutely no provocation from the demonstrators - we just started climbing towards the route of the wall when the gas was shot at us. For some time, the whole center of the village was under a mist of gas. One internationalist arrested was later released after she signed a committment not to enter the area for 15 days.


Israeli army shoots live bullets at children in Marda. As villagers in Marda tried to make their way to their fields to do the political prayers ceremony of Friday midday on their land - accompanied by media, internationals, and Israeli peace* activists, tear gas clouded the skies. Four bulldozers that had been uprooting Marda's trees to make way for the "Ariel loop" of the Annexation Wall stopped working as soon as the villagers began their march, a major victory for the day.
Mere minutes into the ascent upwards and only a few hundred meters up the slope, the group, consisting mainly of children. The Israeli soldiers began firing tear gas and sound bombs at the villagers. While a number of soldiers fired from the hill, other military vehicles made their way into the village.

With soldiers in the village and on the hilltops surrounding it, Marda became a village of fear. Tear gas and sound bombs turned into rubber bullets, and the rubber bullets into live ammunition, reportedly fired directly at children. Soldiers shot tear gas towards the mosque and into a sewing factory where dozens of women were working. Four were taken to the hospital for gas inhalation.

Three Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets, one in the stomach, one in the leg, and one in the arm. One Palestinian's thumb was broken when a tear gas canister hit his hand. Others were treated for tear gas inhalation. One international was detained for several hours and taken to Ariel police station, but was later released.

The DCO later claimed that the Israeli army fired only one rubber bullet and no live ammunition, and that a Palestinian had been shooting a Kalachnikov rifle. Villagers and Israelis collected the bullets and casings, however, and they were clearly from M16s, the rifles that the military uses.
Israeli soldiers threatened to return later tonight.

* Slightly edited report of International Women's Peace Service (IWPS) whe nearly never give credit in their reports to the Anarchists Against The Wall who are described by the IWPS as "Israeli peace activists".

--------------------------------------------------------------------- 3 demonstrations - more violence today Author

three demos took place today in Bil'in, Ramadin, and Marda with very little israeli presence. the army is becoming more violent - international, israeli, and palestinian arrests, live bullets and tear gas.

A detailed report on Ramadin, but only facts that were given on Marda and Bil'in

The demo managed to get quite close to the path of the wall. much tear gas was shot, and the use of live bullets as well. the army threw tear gas into houses, to the mosque while people were praying and at one point locked 40 people in an office and threw 2 tear gas canisters in there. at least 2 people fainted from tear gas.

The demo went on for a few hours, one palestinian arrested, and one international woman, who was released later.

About 50 villagers, 10 of the Israeli Anarchists Against The wall initiative, and few internationals started early afternoon a march towards the building site of the separation fence.

The demo didnt manage to leave the village. Just near the last house of the village on the road to the route of the fence, the Israeli army blocked the road with a barbed wire. Two or three minutes after we arrived there, without a warning or demand to disperce, or warning the Israelis we are in a closed zone, the soldiers started shooting at us tear gass canisters.

Just few minutes later the army added the use of a deafning siren as means of dispersal. One israeli who was with the photographers at the front was arrested and later realeased.

As usual, after the army dispersed the nonviolent demonstration, the demonstrators kept advancing and retreating according to the intensity of the tear gass shooting. As usually, the "shabab" youngsters started a protracted battle of attrition with the soldiers along the western fringe of the village. The soldiers used mainly teargas but also rubber coated bullets.

At least one person was injured from a rubber bullet.

Ramadin: the army declared the area a closed military zone that morning, warning the villagers not to get close to the path, and put up a checkpoint on the main road to the village, not letting any cars in.

about 200 palestinians took part in the demo, including many children and some women, there were 5 israelis and one international. the village had some land stolen from them in '48 where Kibutz Lahav now sits, and has a very close by settlement "eshkolot" also sitting on their land. the path of the wall is going to surround the south of Ramadin and take more of their land now.

the demo started towards the path, with at least 70 soldiers present. the villagers held a prayer on the land for about an hour, and then started to get closer to the path, beyond a line of stones the army decided was their non-crossing point. the soldiers then approached and after "negotiation" with the head of the village, the village decided to end the demonstration peacefully and return to the village.

Israel-Palestine, Media, The joint nonviolent struggle against the apartheid wall/fence - Gandhi Redux By Meron Rapaport 11 Jun

Last Friday Laser and Hassan walked side by side along the main street of Bilin. Laser Peles (who was born in Kfar Chabad, abandoned religion, came out of the closet, was the spokesman for the gay-lesbian faction in Meretz and one of the most devoted activists of Anarchists Against the Fence) has made Bilin, a small Palestinian village adjacent to the settlement of Upper Modi'in, his second home. Sheikh Hassan Yusuf, who also has an ultra-Orthodox background, but contrary to Laser maintained a close connection with religion, was deported to Lebanon, served six years in an Israeli prison and another six months in a Palestinian prison, is today considered the leader of Hamas in the West Bank.

"I am happy that you are here, the Israelis," the ultra-Orthodox believer from Ramallah said to the former Haredi (Jewish ultra-Orthodox believer) from Kfar Chabad, and the two, joined by another 500 or so Palestinians and about 100 Israelis, continued on their way to the weekly demonstration against the separation fence at Bilin.

Peles is not representative of the Israelis who demonstrated at Bilin last week - most of them have a far more solid activist background. Yusuf is not representative of the Palestinians who demonstrated there - most of them are from Fatah and political rivals of Hamas. Still, the odd connection between the two is indicative of what has been happening in the past few weeks at Bilin and elsewhere along the present route of the fence that is under construction in the West Bank. There are almost daily demonstrations of Palestinians mixed with Israelis mixed with cameras. In meetings of the popular committees in Bilin or Boudrus or Beit Lakia, Palestinian grassroots activists - not intellectuals who get donations from Europe - are talking seriously about the doctrine of Mahatma Gandhi, about the model of nonviolent demonstrations that is meant to spread from village to village throughout the West Bank.

Nonsense - there is no such thing as a nonviolent Palestinian demonstration, say officers of the Israel Defense Forces, whose soldiers have already developed a routine of confrontation with the Palestinian and Israeli demonstrators, and even display fondness for some of those involved. "Where is Laser?" one of the soldiers asked as he looked through binoculars from the peak of the dominant hill at the demonstration that was gathering in Bilin two weeks ago. "Without him the demonstration is worth nothing."

A week later, last Friday, the IDF received proof that when the field commanders tell the soldiers before demonstrations that "a stone can kill," they know whereof they speak. Michael Schwarzman, a soldier from the Armored Corps, lost an eye when he was struck by a stone thrown by a Palestinian at Bilin.

"How can you talk about nonviolent demonstrations if a soldier loses an eye in a demonstration like this?" Yarom Tamim, the deputy battalion commander of Schwarzman's unit, asked on a Tel Aviv radio program at the beginning of the week.

The truth is more complex. It is difficult to obtain precise data about the number of Palestinians who are hurt in demonstrations against the fence, because many of the wounded are treated on the spot and not taken to a hospital. However, in Bilin alone, with a population of a little more than 1,500, about 150 residents have been wounded in demonstrations during the past three months. According to partial figures from the human rights organization B'Tselem, seven Palestinians were killed in events along the fence in the Jerusalem and Modi'in areas last year. Another 180 Palestinians sustained wounds of varying degrees of severity, including at least 16 who were hit by live bullets.

Just a month ago, at the beginning of May, IDF soldiers killed two youths in Beit Lakia more than a kilometer away from the route of the fence. Attorney Shlomo Laker has the names of at least 30 Palestinians who sustained wounds in recent months severe enough to enable claims for damages to be filed. It is difficult to escape the impression that the IDF is using an iron fist in these demonstrations.

That impression is reinforced if we take into account that in the hundreds of demonstrations held since the protests against the separation fence began about two years ago, in the Qalqilyah area, the demonstrators have never resorted to firearms.

Justifying force

It is clear that the army's orders are to use crowd dispersal methods. In March of this year, for example, a company commander from an Armored Corps battalion was removed for not using such means against Palestinians who charged the fence in the Boudrus area and knocked down about 100 yards of it. The officer, Lieutenant M., told his superiors that he did not use the means at his disposal because there were women and children among the demonstrators and he was afraid he might cause them injury.

The chief of Central Command decided to oust the officer. "We expect an officer to prevent the destruction of property and we not expect him to say: We will concede the fence and move back," the spokeswoman of Central Command stated. "He should have been more aggressive and made use of the means that were given him."

Lieutenant Colonel Tzachi Segev, commander of the 25th Battalion of the Armored Corps, became a television star against his will. Almost every week, he commands the force that is responsible for dispersing the demonstrations at Bilin. The cameras of the Arab television networks, not to mention the cameras of Anarchists Against the Fence, document his somewhat childlike features, incongruous beneath the helmet in which he issues orders to his soldiers. He was born in Givatayim, reads Haaretz and even "understands the Palestinians at the personal level" in terms of their anger at the loss of their lands. To reduce friction with the Palestinians, he even ordered a halt to the work on the fence on Friday, to prevent the possibility that the demonstrators would approach the construction equipment. The result is that on the past few Fridays, the demonstrations have been taking place opposite a route of earth, without a fence and without construction equipment: solely against a symbol.

However, Segev has no hesitations about the assignment he has been charged with. "The state has the right to protect itself with the help of a fence, even if that right harms these people," he says. "In general," Segev explains, he gives the order to use riot dispersal means after the Palestinians start to throw stones, because "stones can kill." His definition of violence in Palestinian demonstrations - disturbances, he calls them - is quite broad. Soldiers being pushed is also considered violence that justifies the use of stun grenades or gas bombs. So is the fact that the demonstrators get close to the fence route or even cross the imaginary line the army demarcates for them at the start of every demonstration.

From Segev's point of view, activity against a village that demonstrates against the fence does not end with the dispersal of the demonstrators and the stone throwers. "If no terrorist activity and no interference with the fence works come out of the village, we do not interfere with it," Segev says. "If they interfere with the fence, we harass it in its daily routine."

What form does that harassment take?

"Maybe harassment is not a good word. The stronger the activity against the fence, the stronger our operations will be. We reserve the right to enter the village at any hour ... Sometimes there is no escaping collective punishment, even if it has a negative impact. Collective punishment is closure, prohibiting people from entering a certain village, blocking the Bilin-Safa road [referring to the neighboring village] as a lever of pressure if the village does not behave properly."

But there were also cases in which the organizers of the demonstrations fought against the stone-throwers and removed them from the scene. What message are you sending the Palestinians who prevented stone-throwing at soldiers? That they are stupid?

"It is true that were such cases, and the question of collective punishment is a difficult issue. But the punishment is not something abstract. It is meant to say: Guys, we have means that can hurt you." ("Closure is not collective punishment, it is an operational activity," Colonel Yoni Gedj, the brigade commander, will say afterward, correcting him.)

Like all the IDF commanders in the sector, Segev believes that there is one major guilty party in the demonstrations: the Israelis. The Israelis "bring out the Palestinians" to the demonstrations and are the "main engine" for them. Where there are no Israelis, there are no demonstrations. Worse, Segev and other senior officers in the sector explain, the Israelis make the soldiers' work very hard. They allow themselves to get very close to the soldiers, so that Palestinians and soldiers find themselves in very close quarters, "and the moment you have a Palestinian next to a soldier, there is danger." It is also the Israelis who draw the soldiers to the side and talk to them, thereby allowing the Palestinians to throw stones.

From the army's perspective, there is a clear difference between the attitude toward the Israelis and the attitude toward the Palestinians. "You have to differentiate between Israelis and Palestinians," Segev told his unit commanders in a briefing two weeks ago on Friday. "Where there are Israelis, you don't fire rubber [coated bullets]."

The demonstration starts to move out of the village. We are standing on the hill where the dusty route of the fence - an exposed strip of sun-baked land, the trees that once stood here having been uprooted. At first it looks like there are only Palestinians, that the army and the police succeeded in stopping the Israelis at the Ni'lin checkpoint next to Modi'in Ilit. Then the observation post informs Segev that there are "20 Israelis" among the demonstrators. "Back to the original plan," Segev shouts.

The demonstration two weeks ago was held in almost exemplary order. The demonstrators - about 50 or 60 Palestinians and 20 or so Israelis - got to a distance of a few hundred meters from the fence route and were stopped by the army. They put on a weird display of hangman's ropes attached to people wearing white robes and carrying posters stating "peace," "the lands" and the like, and then turned back in the direction of the village. The soldiers stood on the road for a few more minutes.

"Go back, there is nothing for you to do here, you are just inviting the stone throwers," the retreating demonstrators called to the soldiers. "I don't want a situation in which it looks like they are on our tail," Segev tells me, explaining why the soldiers are waiting. He then gives the withdrawal order and even though a few stones hit the soldiers, he orders restraint and the demonstration ends without a clash. An unusual event, the soldiers tell me; an unusual event, the Palestinians tell me.

The quiet was an achievement of the Bilin popular committee. From the hill, the committee members could be seen running after the youngsters who had hidden beneath olive trees, stones in hand, and taking them back to the village. In some cases this involved fistfights. Not all the youngsters were willing to pass up the opportunity.

"We are not army officers and we have no authority over people," says committee member Mahmoud Hatib. "We can't make them go back to the village, we can only persuade." A few days earlier, when I visited the village, Hatib explained the principles that guide their demonstrations. There must be no stone-throwing, and this rule is generally observed. But after the demonstration ends, or from the moment the army starts to fire gas or rubber, and especially if the army enters the village, the organizers have no way to control the stone-throwers. And stones are thrown, as the events of last Friday showed.

The demonstrations in Bilin began in February of this year, when work started on the fence there. The residents of Bilin have about 4,000 dunams (1,000 acres) of farmland; according to the calculations of the village committee, 2,300 dunams will remain on the other side of the fence. (The army says that 1,700 dunams will be on the Israeli side of the fence, or nearly half the village lands.) The Israelis started to turn up almost from the outset.

A group of about 40 or 50 Israelis who are in constant contact with the villagers is ready to go there even in the middle of the night on the twisting, bumpy road that passes through Palestinian villages in order to stand up against the soldiers who are entering the village. In the home of Abdullah Abu Rahma, one of the committee leaders, I found Laser sleeping off the night. Another Israeli also suddenly showed up, having got a lift from Beit Lakia. A group of Israelis standing in the center of the village and chatting in Hebrew is a totally routine sight. "There were arguments in the village about the way the Israeli women dress, because we are a Muslim village," Hatib notes. "But everyone says the Israelis are good."

Both Hatib and Abu Rahma vehemently deny that the Israelis are behind the demonstrations, as the IDF is convinced. Yonatan Pollack and Einat Podhorny, two of the Israelis who do a lot of traveling between Tel Aviv and Bilin, also say that such claims are preposterous. The Palestinians tell us when and what activity they are planning and invite us to come, they say, but we are never the initiators. However, both the Palestinians and the Israelis concede that the very knowledge that Israelis will be present at a demonstration makes it easier for the Palestinians to decide to confront the soldiers, as it is likely that the troops will use less force when they see Israelis among the demonstrators.

The actions of the Bilin committee tend toward performance art. Along with the weekly demonstration on Friday, the members of the popular committee like to diversify. They might lash themselves to olive trees or get into barrels or hold a march of children - this week a demonstration by disabled people was planned. Last week they even distributed flyers, in Hebrew, to soldiers who arrived to evacuate them from the fence route.

"Soldier, wait a minute before you cock your weapon," it read. "You and your friends are on our land. If you had come as guests we would show you the trees that our grandmothers [sic] planted here ... But you were sent here as the representatives of an occupying army and state ... That is why we are demonstrating here, without weapons, in the face of all your arms."

"It is a revolution," says a Palestinian source. "In the past, no Palestinian would have dared to address the soldiers in this direct way."

Mysterious stone-throwers The goal, Hatib explains, is to show the world the "right picture": the Palestinians as the victims, Israel as the occupying army. Therefore, from his point of view, there is no need to throw stones at the soldiers, not even if they fire tear gas and rubber bullets. Hatib is also very pleased that the Arab and Palestinian media have dubbed the Bilin residents the "new Gandhis." That is very honorable, in his eyes.

Do they merit that title? The army says that there is no demonstration that ends without stones being thrown and that any distinction between the nonviolent part of a demonstration and the violent part, with the stones, is completely artificial. Hatib admits that they are still very far from persuading all the village youngsters not to throw stones, but also says that there have been demonstrations without stones - and in general, he adds, the army has an interest in heating up the atmosphere.

An example of the deliberate escalation of the situation, the Palestinians say, is a demonstration that was held in Bilin on April 28, the demonstration of the mistarvim (army undercover units who are disguised as Arabs). Despite the large number of participants, the organizers were able to uphold the decision to have a nonviolent demonstration, without stones. "Suddenly I saw six or seven people whom I don't know throwing stones," Hatib relates. "I ran over to them and asked them who they were and why they were throwing stones despite the decision that the demonstration would be nonviolent. One of them replied, in good Arabic, that he was from Safa and that they had come to help us. I told him to go throw stones in Safa, not here."

It was only afterward, when one of the stone-throwers pulled out a pistol and fired in the air, that Hatib realized the group were mistarvim. For him, that is proof that the army wanted to heat things up so it could break up the demonstration with the use of force.

The Maccabim Brogade commander, Colonel Gedj, admits that the mistarvim - from the Masada unit of the Prisons Service - did indeed throw stones, but firmly denies that they were the first to do so. "They joined other Palestinians who were throwing stones. The Palestinians' allegations are nonsense. I investigated and I am 100 percent convinced of that."

However, a judge in the Judea Military Court, Major Yair Tirosh, who heard a request to remand two Bilin residents in custody - they were accused of attacking one of the undercover men - wrote in his judgment: "There is no testimony by so much as one soldier that stones were thrown at him."

(In his decision to release the two on bail, the deputy president of the Military Appeals Court, Lieutenant Colonel Yoram Haniel, noted that it is very doubtful that the mistarvim had the authority to operate in the demonstration, as their authority is confined to prison facilities.)

Role of the victim

"Stones entered the lives of the Palestinians in the first intifada and it is hard to remove them from our culture," says Ahed Murad, from the village of Boudrus, which lies west of Bilin, smack on the Green Line. Boudrus is an example of a successful struggle, and this may be why Bilin is trying to emulate the events there. According to the original route of the fence, Murad explains, 1,200 dunams of the village's land would have remained on the Israeli side of the fence. After the demonstrations, which began in December 2003, the route was changed and now only 100 dunams will remain on the other side. Boudrus was the first place where Israelis became a permanent element in the demonstrations.

"Our popular committee decided not to use stones, because we needed the help of the international volunteers and the Israelis, and we knew that if we used stones we would not be able to get the help," Murad says. "We wanted to get to the bulldozers to stop the work and we knew that if we threw stones we would not be able to get to them."

In Murad's view, stones are not a violent measure, but "I don't believe in that. If the goal is to hurt soldiers, you can do that better by shooting. But if the message is that you do not accept the occupation, I don't think stone-throwing gets that message across. We are victims and we must not move out of the role of the victims."

Murad is trying to market this formula in other places as well. In the villages next to the fence the message of nonviolent demonstrations is gaining support, he says. It is far more difficult in the big cities. "People told us that they would achieve nothing that way," Murad says. The Palestinian Authority is also not cooperating. Nevertheless, he feels growing support for his ideas, both on the part of local leaders and in prison. When he was being held in administrative detention (arrest without trial), leaders from all the factions told him that the "Boudrus method is good" and that they had to reconsider their methods.

Mohammed Elias, the coordinator of the popular committees in the West Bank on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, admits that the road to getting nonviolent struggle into the Palestinian mainstream is still a long one. "This is a new way, and the fact that in this form of struggle there are no pictures of shaheeds [martyrs] on the walls weakens support for it," he explains in his Ramallah office. "We are a sentimental people and the powerful slogans about blood and fire grab the heart more." In addition, even if the direction is that of Gandhi, it can only be attained gradually. "If you see the soldiers using tear gas, it is difficult to persuade the young people to sit on the ground, sing and not react."

Nevertheless, Elias is convinced that this is the direction in which the Palestinians are heading. He himself believed in the armed struggle and spent many years in prison, but now he has changed his mind and believes that the Palestinian public will follow suit.

"Once everyone supported the armed struggle, but now there is great weariness of it." The presence of the Israelis in the demonstrations has a large influence in changing people's opinions. "There is an Arabic proverb: You can forget those you laughed with, but you cannot forget those you cried with," he says. People will not forget the Israelis who were wounded alongside them in the demonstrations.

That too is not a simple process. Elias tells about a demonstration in Qalqilyah in which the majority of the demonstrators were Israelis. During the demonstration a prayer service was held and the cleric who conducted it delivered a sermon against the Jews. "I went over to him and asked him, `How can you talk like that? didn't you notice that half the people here are Israelis?' He replied, `I meant the other Israelis.'"

Murad notes that before the Israelis started to show up for the demonstrations, many in Boudrus knew Jews only as uniformed soldiers. "Now even the children do not shout slogans against the Jews, only against the occupation." An Israeli demonstrator relates that she heard a Palestinian say proudly that "the Israelis" - meaning the demonstrators - had protected them from "the Jews," meaning the soldiers.

"Clearly the fact that we face danger together influences the Palestinians' level of trust in us," says Einat Podhorny from Ta'ayush, an Israeli-Palestinian cooperative organization, and an activist against the fence.

The absurd thing is that the demonstration last Friday, in which Michael Schwarzman lost an eye, was proof of the growing popularity of the struggle in the style of Boudrus and Bilin. True, Hassan Yusuf from Hamas is not eager to adopt nonviolent struggle as the only path. "We have tried everything, and we will try this way too," he says. "If the occupation leaves peacefully, we are in favor of measures of peace, but it does not seem that this is what the occupation wants." Yet the very fact that Yusuf, and with him representatives of all the parties - including the Popular Front, which had opposed joint actions with Israelis - took part in the demonstration alongside the Israeli demonstrators proves that the Palestinian politicians feel it is worth their while to ride this wave, that the wave is popular.

Who wins?

These subtleties make no impression on the IDF. "For a month and a half we have encountered a daily routine of disturbances," Colonel Gedj says. "Soldiers find themselves in mortal danger, the machinery is damaged, the workers are attacked. This is delaying the work and causing the loss of a great deal of money. It is a situation that we cannot accept."

Would it not be preferable to allow the Palestinians to demonstrate instead of confronting them?

"All the demonstrations are illegal and we are therefore obliged to disperse them. Palestinian youth are exploiting the demonstrations to throw stones and attack IDF soldiers. The moment the demonstrators push soldiers or cross a certain line, that makes the demonstration violent. I will also not lend a hand to exposing my soldiers to cries of `Nazi' and `traitor.' But we use the means we have in a graduated way. There is no situation in which we burst out at the demonstrators."

What is the role of the Israelis in the demonstrations?

"During the whole week nothing happens, and at the end of the week, when the Israelis arrive, there are disturbances of hundreds of people. The connection is simple. It is apparently the Israelis who whip up the passions. I can't say that with certainty, but where there are no Israelis it doesn't happen."

And the Israeli presence upsets the army?

"It makes the event a great deal longer and obliges us to invest far greater forces. The Israelis remain on the road and the Palestinians go out, but it's hard for me to say whether this presence aggravates the confrontations or weakens them."

What the Palestinians say is that the very presence of Israelis in the demonstrations is the best medicine against suicide bombers in the future, that their presence lessens the hatred.

"That is a direction that makes one think, but I am an army man and my task is to see to that the mission is carried out, and my mission is to enable the construction of the fence."

A senior officer in Central Command takes a somewhat different view. He admits that the demonstrations along the fence are the major points of friction between the IDF and the Palestinians at this time. But "this is a classic type of disturbance and the army has no problem dealing with it. We only have to internalize the transition from fighting against armed individuals to coping with disturbances. It reminds me of the first intifada, and in the first intifada we were victorious at the operative level without any doubt. Most of the wanted individuals were liquidated or caught - it was an extraordinary success. But in these struggles it is very difficult to determine who wins in the judgement of history."

Friday, June 10, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Salfit, another joint* front against the apartheid wall/fence - eight wounded and three arrested 10 Jun

Thursday at Salfit. In a demonstration against the building of the apartheid wall, 8 Palestinians were injured by the Israeli army attack. Two Israelis and one international activist were arrested. That morning, hundreds of inhabitants of Salfit marched in demonstration against the building of the apartheid wall on their agricultural lands. The demonstration, to which joined international and anarchist activists, marched from the center of Salfit. However, before they succeeded to reach the lands on which the construction work is done, the Israeli occupation forces attacked the demonstration with tear gas and shock grenades and rubber coated bullets.

Tens were hurt by the the army attack. Five were hurt seriously from tear gas and three more were brutally hit when the army pretend they want to arrest them, but were let go after one of them lost consciousness and the other two needed medical treatment.

Two Israelis were arrested during the demonstration on the charge of entering closed military zone. The international activists which documented the army attack was arrested too and her camera was confiscated.

The arrested were taken to Ariel settlement town police station to stay there the night and be brought next morning to court.
* The escalation of the resistance along the route of the apartheid wall/fence worry the Israeli occupation authorities. They are especially bothered by the presence of the Israelis in the demos as it force them to use milder methods of suppression. The usual routine is to use rubber coated bullets only when the Israelis are not present.

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, the joint demo with the invalids and the injured by the Israei forces 08 Jun

The inhabitants of the village Bil'in expected a quiet protest demonstration of invalids and injured victims of attacks of the Israeli forces. However, already at the fringe of the village the army attacked us with tear gas and detained 3 of the Anarchists Against The Wall initiative and four of the villagers. They also threatened that any move towards the route of the fence in building will result with a curfew on the village. The invalids and injured demonstration - among them 10 in wheel chairs and few blind people, planned by the village as response to the injury to a soldier eye in the demo of last Friday. The aim was to counter the demonization of the villagers. The participation in the demonstration was small - less than 100. Part of it because it was in the morning of a middle of the week day. Part because at the preceding night the army "visited" 40 houses and threatened people not to demonstrate.

When the army started to shower us with tear gas some of the invalids fainted. The rest of the people retreated a bit, and the youngsters responded - as usual after the army dispersed nonviolent demonstration, with stones. As a result, instead of nonviolent demo they dispersed violently they got a long protracted battle with the youngsters.

After few hours passed, the 4 detained Palestinian villagers were released, and the 3 Israelis were taken to Givat Zeev police station and released at 17:00 on bail with commitment not to come near the Bil'in fence route for 10 days.

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Marda, Alt. media, Another take of Saturday action. Breaking through at Marda 05 Jun

"Where are you going?" asked the soldier at the checkpoint in the West Bank entrance. "To Ariel" said Teddy Katz who sat behind the driver of the mini-bus, and we were waved through. Indeed, this highway was made mainly in order to serve the rapidly growing settlement of Ariel, twenty three kilometres deep into the West Bank. But a short distance before the settlement there was another road-block, where the captain was much more suspicious. "To Ariel? Who in Ariel?" "To the Judea and Samaria College. You know, the one which is to become a university. We have a meeting with the students there. They are waiting for us."

He didn't buy it. Either we didn't look the part, or somebody had connected us with certain email alerts. "Ariel is a closed military zone until 6pm, you can't pass." "What about the other cars, why are you letting them through?" "That is my discretion, none of your business." We had to keep our face straight when we saw several cars with our fellow activists blend into the settler traffic and pass on.

For us, the road to Marda Village was a bit more complicated - and interesting. We had to take a side track, off the smoothly paved settler road, and into another world. Driving over unpaved roads which follow the contours of the hills, rather than smashing through every obstacle; winding among picturesque olive groves and small houses with their outer walls totally covered with... the competing graffiti of various Palestinian factions.

A young man named Hisham was already waiting for us: "This mini-bus with the Israeli plates is too conspicuous. These cars are much better, they go back and forth among the villages all the time, the soldiers hardly notice them."

We took a roundabout route, with the intention of getting to Marda from a direction the army did not expect. But some commander had been quite throrough, and there was a road-block also on that side. We just went on past, as if bound for the next village. Then, as soon as we were out of sight, the car stopped and on foot we hurried through the olive groves and terraces, with Hisham pointing out barely perceptible paths.

We passed houses with smiling children and old people waving from every window and balcony. A few more turns and we could see the big crowd by the mosque, with a forest of flags and banners flying above.

The organizers, kept appraised of our progress by mobile phone, had put off the departure for our sakes. As soon as we took our places in the ranks and distributed the placards from the clumsy package which had been carried all along the tortuous route, the march started. Enormous banners and VIP's in the front, followed by Israelis (Ta'ayush, Gush Shalom and the Anarchists) and internationals intermingled among villagers carrying the banners of various Palestinian parties and groupings. Ambulances and medics brought up the rear.

Altogether, quite a familiar scene, a routine to which we have already become used to in towns and villages all over the West Bank. But hardly ever before had there been a week with so many demonstrations and struggles coming together all at once, and quite a few of the participants felt really exhausted. Some Israelis and internationals had been yesterday at the scene of the violent confrontation in Bil'in. And also some of the Bil'in villagers themselves took a day off from their own tenacious struggle for the sake of solidarity with their brethren of Marda.

On the ridge above, dominating Marda in all possible ways, were the houses of Ariel - row upon row of gleaming, identical new buildings with identical red tile roofs. And ahead, as always in these processions, was the line of helmeted soldiers barring the way.

At least, today there was no volley of tear gas, We were able to come face to face and engage in a futile short parley (all in Hebrew). "Why are you blocking us? We don't intend to disrupt any work. Today is Sabbath and there is no work going on. We just want to march from Marda to Kifl Hares, two Palestinian villages. How does that disturb you?" . "We have our orders. This is as far as you can go, no further".

A grey-haired man suddenly steps forward to confront the commanding officer and his men (and two helmeted women). "It is my land from which you are barring me, my land on which the bulldozers are going to work. It is my land, and it was my father's before me and his father's before that. Tell me, soldiers, does any of you claim to have had a grandfather in this piece of land?". One or two minutes of silence, then the officer repeats: "We have our orders".

The crowd surges forward, a great wave again and again breaking against the three-deep chain of soldiers and Border Police with their linked arms. Tel-Aviv activist Yuval Halperin starts the cry of "Chayalim Habayta" (Soldiers Go Home!) and is joined by the Israelis and many of the Palestinians. Then Fatah supporters raise their traditional call for "National Unity in the Struggle" and the Hamas people answer with the familiar "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great, in Arabic). But then some of them shift to "Elohim Gadol" which means the same in Hebrew...

Then the internationals present (EAPPI, ISM, IWPS, and CPT were all represented) start chanting "One, Two, Three, Four - Stop Oppression, Stop the War!" and "Free, free Palestine!". And a Palestinian boy from the side calls "Sharon and Barak - Hizbullah fucked you up!" - which gets a burst of laughter before many others take it up. "Take this magazine off your gun, you're going to shoot somebody at random and that will go bad on you!" shouts anarchist Yonathan Polak at the soldier directly in front of him.

The soldiers are rather quiet, the officers' terse orders hardly audible. Increasingly, they resort to clubs rifle butts. It was then that activist Leiser Palas got a blow to the head, fell down and was kicked in the ribs - an event lost in the melee and noticed only by those nearby, especially since the highly experienced medics of the Palestinian Medical Relief Committees instantly got him into an ambulance speeding off to hospital. Immediately following, three soldiers set upon historian and Gush Shalom activist Teddy Katz, intending to throw him face down into the nearby thorn bushes - when the voice of an army major barked:
"Leave him alone! NOW!". The officer then addressed Katz with "Hello, teacher!". Improbable as it may seem, the officer turned out to be not only a member of the same Kibbutz as Katz - but actually a former pupil.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of demonstrators found the simple and obvious weak spot in the army's cordon: just go off to the side, among the olive groves and down the hill where no soldiers were. Soon the entire demonstration was headed that way, bounding over the rocks in the direction of the Ariel Road (Route 505 on the maps) and reaching it before the soldiers could shift themselves into a serious chase.

Route 505 is a prime settler-only road. By the army's rules, Palestinians are not supposed even to drive along it in their cars, much less hold demonstrations and protests on its sacrosanct asphalt. Upon arriving in pursuit, the soldiers started again swinging their clubs, a red-faced officer crying over the megaphone: "Closed military zone! Closed military zone! Anybody not immediately vacating the road will be detained forthwith!"

Other officers, however, seemed now open to compromise. A parley with the Marda organizers and Palestinian Authority Minister Fares Kaddura produced an informal agreement: the march could after all proceed to Kifl Hares, its original destination - as long as it was done beside the road and not on it. A small victory perhaps, not really changing the fundamental situation. Still, there was a feeling of elation as we proceeded on a narrow track beside the highway, with the army's armoured jeeps shadowing us on the road. A young boy carrying a Palestinian flag nearly as big as himself waved gaily at the soldiers in the jeep, a smile of pure mirth on his face.
written specially for TOI by Adam Keller

Palestine-Israel, Media, The joint struggle against the apartheid wall/fence continue Israeli signs get activist makeover 05 Jun

Israelis driving along Highway 505 in the West Bank have been greeted with an unexpected sight. Signs that usually guide them to settlements instead on Saturday reminded them of the illegality of the construction on confiscated West Bank land.
A sign pointing to Ariel, the largest settlement in the northern West Bank, built on land belonging to the Palestinian villagers of Salfit, now marks the way in Hebrew, Arabic and English to "stolen land". Another sign that indicates the distance to Ariel from an Israeli checkpoint 12km away reminds drivers of the ongoing occupation and of the separation wall being built around Palestinian towns.

"1967: Occupation; 2005: Apartheid Wall in Salfit" read the signs.

Signs of Truth, a group of Israeli and international activists acting in solidarity with local Palestinians, altered the signs on Saturday to coincide with the 38th anniversary of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967.

Painful anniversary

Later on Saturday, demonstrators protested against the separation wall.

Palestinians also protested against the extension of the wall "We came together today to bring some truth to the signs in the West Bank region and specifically in Ariel, where all signs point to settlements and ignore current realities of Palestinians," said one of the organisers and member of the International Women's Peace Service (IWPS), Hanna M, who asked that, for her protection, her full name not be used.

"Road signs that previously marked Jewish-only settlements are now proclaiming historical and current realities," she said.


The activists, marching with Palestinian villagers of the Salfit region, were confronted by Israeli soldiers.

"We were walking out the village, towards the main road, and the soldiers stopped us, 40 or 50 of them, and 15 Jeeps. We made a line, but they kept pushing us back, and at some point lunged forward and started beating us. They took one Israeli and beat him. His head and leg were injured, and he was carried away to a hospital," said Hanna M.

A Palestinian from the village from Marda, Adel Shehadah, was also injured, according to eyewitnesses. Both were hospitalised, and news on their condition was not immediately available.

On Friday, Israel revealed plans to build 22 more homes in Ariel, despite US pleas the week before to end the expansion of settlement outposts.

Ongoing annexation

The protest march along Highway 505 from Marda to Kifl Hares, parallel to the proposed path of the wall, was to assert the villagers' right to be on their land, said Naffat Khuffash, a Palestinian organiser of the protest and resident of Marda.

"We called for protest in order to call for an end to the occupation and the annexation of our lands in Salfit. The wall being built will split Salfit into three parts, and isolate it from Nablus," said Khuffash, who is coordinator of the Popular Committee for Resisting the Apartheid Wall.

Israeli road signs normally mark the settlements only Khuffash said the barrier threatened farmers in the area.

"Yesterday hundreds of olive trees were cut down in front of me, and it pained me deeply. They are cutting hundreds of years of Palestinian toil and sweat. Now the farmer who works to build his land sees it being cut down for no other reason than the pioneering of illegal settlements … it makes me doubt any peace can materialise."

On Wednesday and Thursday, 500 trees were cut in Marda to make way for the Ariel loop of the separation wall.

The wall was ruled illegal by the Hague-based International Court of Justice in July 2004.

About 50 Israeli activists from the anarchists against the wall and the wider coalition against the wall participated in the march and activities around. The Israeli comrade injured is L. P. of the AATW.

Saturday, June 4, 2005

US, Oakland, CA, Benefit for Anarchists Against the Wall 04 Jun

Come help support the struggle against Israel's Apartheid wall. Guest speaker: Dalit Baum - Baum is an Israeli feminist activist with the Coalition of Women for a Just Peace, Women in Black, Black Laundry, and Anarchists Against the Wall.
She will be presenting slides and films of actions at the Wall. Music performed by Charming Hostess Entartete Kunst Refractors Thursday, June 9 - 8 pm @ 21 Grand (416 25th St. Oakland, CA) $5-10/pay what you can.
No-one turned away for lack of funds; an all ages and wheelchair accessible event.

Friday, June 3, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, Friday, The joint struggle continue 03 Juneawwg

Bil'in is a small village. Consist of few hundred families - 1700 inhabitants only. But, for the last three months developed strong ties with the Israeli anarchists against the wall and very persistent in nearly daily struggle against the fence. Some of us even sleep nights at the village to deter harsh night time harassment the Israeli army do frequently. And today, like all other Fridays we had another demo. About 500 - villagers among them a block of women and girls, few internationals, and about 100 Israelis of the Anarchists Against The Wall initiative and from the wider coalition against the fence. To day, because of internal Israeli consideration the state forces were a bit less harsh.

First, they did not try hard to block us from arriving to Bil'in. They only made trouble to 10 of us whose minibus (one of nine) was held for checking and had to find a replacement.

When the demonstration reached the point of 150 meters from the route of the fence building site they just blocked our advance physically... They even refrained from declaring the demonstration illegal or declaring the area as closed military zone for the Israelis.

So, the Palestinians started at that place the friday prayers long ritual, while us the Israelis set there in the shade of the olive trees.

At that place the state forces tried to bully us and arrested two comrades who refused to move a meter backwards.

After the end of the prayer ritual the Palestinian declared the end of the demonstration and most of them returned to the village while part of them and the Israelis stayed - hard to decide if to retreat, to stay or to advance.

The "bargain" that preceded the permission to stay and do the prayer there and the pressure to retreat faster when it ended was not so peacful.

Nor was the clash between the army and the shabab - the youngsters who started to throw stones after the demonstration ended.

The results were few injuries, a bit of tear gas, and retreat of the state forces who understood they are just loosing prestige.

Israeli media reported on the demo in both the internet web sites of the newspapers and the main radio channel.