Friday, September 2, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Army failed in efforts to prevent the joint Friday demo in Bil'in 02 Sep

Soldiers have launched a siege on Bil'in this Friday noon in a futile effort to prevent the joint Israeli-Palestinian Friday demonstration on going for the last few months. The army declared the whole Bil'in village a closed military zone for Israelis, blocked all the roads leading to Bil'in to prevent the Israeli anarchists against the wall and others from arriving to participate in the joint demo. In addition, they invaded the main street of the village throwing shock grenades, firing tear gas rubber bullets and attempting to impose a curfew on residents. mainly near the Mosque where the demonstrations are started. As direct result from the invasion, a protracted battle started between the invading soldiers and stone throwing villagers (mostly young ones).

About 12 o'clock when we were nearing the Bil'in - 50 Israelis from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, we were warned about the army block. Thus, we left the cabs and started to find our round about way among the olive orchards and the rocks of the step hill.

When we finally arrived in the village we were warned that the main street is dense with soldiers waiting for us... So we went between houses passing through the "war zone" with the tear gas clouds till we arrived in our safe house - where the international activists stay near the center of village.

There we confronted the soldiers who were shooting tear gas and shock grenades mainly, who found that our addition to the stone throwers - who responded in kind to the tear gas and shock grenades of the army, was too much for them and they gradually left the main street.

Though a bit late, and after two hours of confrontation with the army, we started the Friday demonstration as usually, marching to the end of the village, on the road leading to the fence building site.

When we arrived there, we sat down... but the soldier soon started to push us roughly with their hands back to the village... As we were resisting, they used plenty of tear gas and shock grenades and even some shooting, and detained 14 of us including Mohammed - member of the village comity against the fence, whom they often detain or even arrest in our demos.

At the end of the confrontation some of the local activists, the internationals and the Israelis who were not detained regrouped to the safe house to a meeting and discussions.

As usual during discussion and waiting for the release of most of the detainees, the comrades responsible to media prepared the material for the main TV channels evening news. (Announcements about the Friday struggle in Bil'in was broadcasted during the afternoon by the main radio station. A short video clip Including a picture of the demonstration was already screened in the channel one friday evening news...)

During the confrontation 12 of us were injured - most not seriously by rubber bullets. Two were taken to hospital. (One soldier too was hit hard in his leg by a stone and was carried away by his mates...)

12 of the detainees were released as usual after few hours, and as usual two were arrested and taken to the Pisgat Zeev police station...

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