Friday, October 14, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, The joint Friday demonstration of 14-10-05 - a military experimental site again 14 Oct

The Friday demons of today started earlier than usual as the noon prayer the joint demonstration start after ended at noon because of the Ramadan day time fasting. Because of that and because of the stricter blockade of the army which hinder the travel of Israelis to Bil'in, only 10 of the Israeli Anarchists Against The Wall initiative were at the beginning of the Demo. About 100 of us - including about 20 internationals, started the march towards the separation fence building route with the creative presentation of the week at the front. Like their new habit the army did not prevent us from reaching a point few meters from the fence route. There, like all along the march, people continued the sounds, the calls and the slogans that were the "music" along the march. We added to them the derogatory calls towards the soldiers and the border policemen about their presence in the occupied territories on the robed lands of Bil'in villagers.

We stayed there about an hour, but near the beginning when the youngsters found there is not going to be there any confrontation, they left the main body of the demo and spread in the olive orchards on the two sides of the road - ready for confrontation with the soldiers if the will invade the ground of the village that were not already confiscated.

However, the army commanders had different plans. The higher level commanders had not come to observe a low intensity demonstration as it was the last few weeks. This Friday demo was intended to show their new tactics and to test the new bullets for dispersing crowds.

Fearing that the village youngsters will not "cooperate" if the army will not attack first the non violent demo or invade the village lands, a group of 7 plain clothes soldiers masquerading as Israeli demonstrators infiltrated among the dispersing village youth. At the proper moment they tried to incite the village youth to start throwing stones on the far away soldiers... and when they failed - they started to throw stones themselves giving the soldiers "justification" to attack and to "arrest" two of the plain clothes soldiers.

And thus, the expected two hour battle of attrition between the stone throwing youth started. This enabled the army to test the new bullets and the new tactic of showering big areas with shots of tear gas canisters. As part of the experiment, and in contradiction with their now defunct strategy of the past, the did not use the start of the stone throwing as a pretext to attack the nonviolent demonstrators.

Thus, the road itself remained a "safe zone" and surprisingly, the soldiers fighting the youngsters did nothing to us (who were watching the on going fight) even when passing one meter near us.

The long nonviolent demonstration and the two hours fight between the soldiers and the village youth enabled the 40 Israelis delayed by the road blocks to arrive in time to have at least part of the activity.

After about two hours of the fight of stones against tear gas and the new bullets, the direction of the wind changed. The huge amount of tear gas showered that was before with no real effect started to move towards us the observers and towards the stone throwers. In addition, after a massive attack of the soldiers on the stone throwers pursuing them up to the building area of the village, they just stopped and went away... so the fun of action was over and we regrouped to the village.

After additional hour during which the it was cleared that the 4 arrested on the way to Bil'in were freed, and that the condition of the two Palestinians and an Israeli injured was found not serious, it really ended.

Part of the Israelis returned to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, while the other part continue to the next mission - protecting the next day(s) Palestinians doing olive picking from harassment by soldiers and settlers.

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