Last Friday, as many of you know, the army tried to crack down on the resistance at Bil'in by brute force. One hour before the beginning of the weekly demonstration, a squad of roughly 100 soldiers invaded the village and proceeded to take over. In an unprecedented move, snipers set up posts on rooftops, jeeps and hummers patrolled the streets as a large group of soldiers positioned themselves outside of the mosque, where the demonstration was scheduled to begin. Once the prayer was over, the people leaving the mosque were violently dispersed, without even one stone having been thrown. A curfew was imposed immediately, and one of the commanders went on to announce that "there will be no more demonstrations in Bil'in".
The intense violence of the military resulted in the use of live fire against protestors in at least two cases. Some time into this, and despite the use of excessive violence against us, a group of Palestinians, internationals and Israelis managed to regroup and proceed together towards the construction site. The procession was halted as it reached the last home in the village by a massive bombardment of rubber bullets, tear gas and concussion grenades. By the end of the day 12 people were wounded and 14 arrested. 12 of the arrested people were released hours later, with no restraining orders; two others remained in custody and were released by the judge the next day (Saturday) on condition that they not enter the occupied territories for six days.
The village of Bil'in rises as a proud symbol of resistance for the people of Palestine and for all oppressed people worldwide, for its resistance to the wall. But its struggle symbolizes much more. It reveals the purpose of the wall - annexation and dispossession. The trajectory in the area proves that the purpose behind it is the expansion of Modi'in Elit and Matityahu settlements, at the expense of the area's villages' stolen lands.
We, Palestinians and Israelis, view the recent measures taken by the military as a substantial escalation in violent repression and as an additional infringement on our progressively eroding right to protest and resist the stealing of our lands and the denial of basic human rights. We will be holding a massive demonstration this coming Friday (Sept 9), and we call on you all to step up your efforts, spread the word widely, and join us in Bil'in as we deliver our message that the popular resistance to the wall and the occupation will not be crushed, that the protest against the crimes of occupation will not be silenced. Especially now, as the military is denying, through brute force, our right to protest, we urge you all to come out and raise your voice against the ongoing dispossession and violation of the basic human rights of the people of Bil'in and Palestine in general.
The demonstration will begin at the Mosque in Bil'in at 13:00. Transportation details to follow shortly.
The Popular Committees against the Wall and Settlement Expansion
Coalition of Women for Peace
The Committee against House Demolitions
Anarchists against the Wall