Saturday, July 23, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, repression of joint struggle continue 23 Jul

Like every Friday of the last few months, international and Israeli activists (mostly of the Anarchists Against The Wall initiative) joined the small village Bil'in activists in the Friday demonstration against the separation fence that annex to Israel most of the lands of the village. This week, the Israeli state forces tried harder to prevent us - the Tel Aviv activists from arriving to Bil'in. The forces were waiting for us at main points... but we got out of the bus in an unexpected point and made our way through the hills to the road of the neighboring village Safa. State forces succeeded to intercept only about third of us, and the rest found transportation to Bil'in. There, we joined the preparation for the demo - including putting on white shirts with relevant content printed on and masks of Cundelica Rice and her president Bush.

We started to march from the center of the village towards the fence building site (which is not really active Fridays) to the confrontation with the Israeli state forces - army, border police and special police forces who wait for us lately at the last buildings of the village.

When we arrived there, the barbed wire blocking and the announcement of closed military zone (for non local people) was as usual. So we all set down (except the people photographing the confrontation) and heard the commander repeat the statement that the demonstration is illegal, that it is a closed military area, and that we had 10 minute till arrests will start... and he kept his words.

In escalation from previous demonstrations, the border police started at first with kicking and hitting people with batons before starting to lift us and arrest us one by one - including people who were only documenting the conflict with their cameras {usually not arrested on previous times. They took and detained about 40 of us at a near by building in construction. Part of the escalation was a gradual handcuffing of most of the detained people till only few of us remained uncuffed.

The rest of the demonstrators were dispersed by teargas and shock grenades mostly, with rubber bullet shooting on the few tens of youngsters who as usual, responded with stones to the dispersing of the demonstration.

As we were been taken to the fence building site for further procession a higher commander arrived. He decided to de-escalate the conflict a bit and the 10 or so of us not yet handcuffed were released at the unfinished building while the rest - about 30 were taken to the fence site.

The main internet website of the daily newspapers reported on the confrontation - including report on injured demonstrators.

One of them reported:
In the demonstration participated about 400 people, among them Israeli citizens and international activists. Participant put on masks with the faces of Bush and Cundelica Rais with an orange ribbon (similar to that of the Israeli settlers) - "as protest of the blindness brought by the separation plan and the overlooking of Israel activities in the West bank."

Another report in the Media:
"... One of the Israeli demonstrators - Jonathan Polak claim that he was hit by a border policeman who also broke his leg."
[Later found the bone was not broken..]

The Media brought also the police lies:
"The police said that there are about 100 people demonstrating in the village, 8 of them detained for interrogation. No knowledge about injured demonstrators.

Another report of Haaretz daily on the Internet:
"Five injured and five detained for interrogation in Bil'in. In the demonstration held every Friday, participated hundreds of people - Palestinians, internationals, and Israelis. Demonstrators claim the soldiers shoot tear gas and rubber bullets."

As background they added:
The demonstrations in Bil'in are carried for few months as protest to the fact that the separation fence is built on the lands of the village and will separate them from from most of their fields [mostly olive orchards]. At this place, every Friday demonstrate people of the village together with Israel leftist activists, Israeli Arab parliament members and Palestinian parliament members [a bit of exaggeration as these dignitaries do not come too often...]. At these demonstrations, were the first times that people of the [Palestinian Muslim] Hamas, headed by Yusef Hasan, their top leader in the West bank demonstrated side by side with Israeli activists.

Another report - about a two hours later confrontation between the stone throwing youngsters that confront the Israeli state forces after they disperse the nonviolent demonstration: "The confrontation in Bil'in resumed.
Two were seriously injured.
The Palestinians report that two Palestinian youngsters were seriously injured with rubber bullets - one in his head and one in his belly.
The two were taken to an hospital in Ramalla.

And Bil'in is not alone. This Friday, people of the Israeli Anarchists Against The Wall initiative were invited to a joint struggle in a Northern village. "Seven activists of the left were arrested while trying to enter a 'military closed region'.
The Summeria region police arrested seven Israeli activists of the left that entered the village Asira Akhbaliya traveling in Palestinian cabs into a closed military zone. The seven were taken for interrogation to the Ariel police station. [The declaration of temporary 'closed military zone' is the way to block Israelis to participate in joint demonstration with Palestinians. This is done regularly (with partial success) because the presence of Israelis in joint demonstrations with Palestinians force the army to use 'milder' ways of repression.]

Another report in the internet site of the daily:
The vice-brigadir commander hit video photographer documenting the hitting of demonstrators.

The channel 8 documentary director Shai Carmely-Polack who works on documenting the the demonstrations of Bil'in claim that he was hit yesterday (Friday) by Shai Malka - the vice regiment commander of the Macabim regiment, while trying to document the beating of detainees in the place where they were brought to.
... When the the vice regiment commander arrived at the compound he released Shai Carmely-Polack who was detained earlier for the absent of official reporter card [confiscated from him in a previous demonstration]. However, as he resumed photographing the beating of detainees in the compound, the commander himself jumped on him from behind and strangulate him to stop the documenting.

"Army response has not arrived yet".

"Polack's photographs caused lately the release of a Palestinian brought to military court as they exposed the lies of the border police witness."

Follow up:
At the end of the day, no one stayed the night in jail. From the 30 people handcuffed and taken to temporary detention point, only three were taken to the Givat Ze'ev police station - One Palestinian and two Israelis. The two Israelis were processed and released on bail conditioned on refraining from returning to the fence in Bil'in for two weeks.

Surprisingly, as the video photographs were presented during the procession of the Palestinian, he was released too.

The two injured Palestinian youngsters taken to Hospital, were treated and are out of serious trouble.

The rest of the bruises will probably heal till next Friday demo in Bil'in.

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