Saturday, September 24, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, The regular joint Friday demonstrations against the separation fence resumed 24 Sep

In spite of the declaration of the regional IOF army commander few weeks ago that there will not be any more joint demonstrations in Bil'in, and his efforts to enforce it, yesterday - 23-09-05 demonstration occurred, with great success. It seems that the bad publicity and political ferment related to the banning of the demonstration, and the struggles in the two weeks the ban was in power, that did the demonstration any way... forced the higher authorities to over rule the ban. (As a result both two last Friday demonstrations were not dispersed after few minutes of arrival to the roadblock preventing the advance to the building site of the separation fence - which was "improvement" of the policy applied .) Following the intensification of the efforts to block the arrival of Israelis to the joint Friday demonstration we took counter steps.

The obvious one was for few comrades to arrive already at Bil'in Thursday evening. In spite of roadblocks in all the roads leading to Bil'in to stop us, overcoming them ensured that at least few Israelis will be present at the joint demonstration that will be done in time.
The other step was starting the travel to Bil'in an hour earlier. This step which proved useful enabled most people to arrive in time in spite of the need to go by foot and climb step hills an hour or two in order to go around road blocks and time waste in police detention.

And indeed this Friday too, even the few of us who have white hairs could persist... and most of the people from Tel Aviv arrive early enough to have some rest before the demonstration. During the rest, reporters from Israeli printed and electronic media had time to interview us about the Anarchists Against The Wall role in the Bil'in joint demonstrations....

At the intended time - the end of the Friday noon prayer at the mosque, about 150 of us (third of internationals and Israelis and two thirds Palestinians of Bil'in and some out of village) started the march on the road to the construction site... And as usual, after singing and slogans shouting in the march with the weekly creative display structure at our head we were blocked at the fringe of the village built area.

As usual, the mass of soldiers and border police were standing behind the coiled barbed wire stretched on the road and its two sides. As if in a ritual, the commander of the force showed us a document declaring the area is a closed military zone and order all the Israelis to get out. He also declared that the time allocated for the demo is limited and he will disperse us if we will not comply.

As the time rolled on, the excitement ended. When the allotted time neared its end we decided to side step the state force and took a route back to the village through the olive groves in parallel to the route of the separation fence. As the land between the trees was freshly plowed, the soldiers who were going in parallel to us to ensure we will not "visit" the building site got weary and could not keep with us.... So, we found our self in front of an irresistible temptation to veer towards the building fence route.

Ten of the fastest of us - one Palestinian, three internationals and six Israelis, who also refused to get fast back, were detained by a border police persons who were rushed there by cars.

Other people stayed for a while in a confrontation area in which the usual youth stone throwing and police tear gas and rubber bullet shooting were not missing. However, as it was out of the built area of the village and with low intensity, none was seriously injured.

After more than an hour, the Israelis, and internationals and village activists regrouped to the "dream house" where the internationals who stay in the village are living, and where we assemble before and after the demonstration for talks. As the summing meeting was started, we were called for emergency activity. After a mysterious explosion occurred in the region of the demonstration road block (we already left an hour ago) the state forces started to interogate/harass people living in the near vicinity and we were called to confront the state forces. (It was suspected the state forces are vindictive and intend to take revenge for their trampled reputation as staunch protectors of the route of the fence.

After a short verbal confrontation with the state forces who stopped the interogations/harassment when we arrived, the retreated from the village, and shortly later released the Israelis and Palestinian detainees. The international detainees who refused to identify themselves were taken to Givat Ze'ev police station for processing.

Afterwards, weary but satisfied, the Israeli convoy of Anarchists Against The Wall and others from the coalition against the fence returned to Israel.

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