Friday, November 11, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, Friday 11-11-05, The joint struggle intensify

This Friday, like in the previous ones of the last nine months we had our joint demonstration against the separation fence that robe more than half of the village lands (olive orchards) and against the Israeli occupation. The demonstrations are organized jointly by the village comity against the fence and the Israeli Anarchists Against The Wall initiative. Participated in it about 100 villagers (about 25% of the males in the appropriate age range), about 45 Israelis of the coalition against the fence, and about 30 international activists from various organizations.
Like usual the Israelis had to evade the Israeli forces road blocks intended to put end to the joint struggle. Like usual we came early in order to prepare the materials.

The theme of this demonstration was activists figures inspiriting the struggle in Bil'in: Gandhi, Rosa Farks, and Martin Luther king - for the mass nonviolence aspect of struggle, Arafat for the Bil'in people (in a year to his death), Rosa Luxemburg (as one of the most prominent female revolutionaries), Nelson Mandela symbolizing the struggle against apartheid.... Masks with their photographs and placards with their photographs or names were prepared and were carried all along the demonstration.

Like the previous Friday we started at noon in a march on the road from the center of the village to the route the separation fence is built on. Like usual people chanted/sang and some times danced along the road till we were near the route where the Israeli state forces were ready to block our way 30 meters from the route.

Like in some of the previous demos, just before arriving there we veered to the side of the road and in a swift move succeeded to out maneuver the sate forces and arrived to the fence route, and some of us had even crossed to an olive grove in the lands to be confiscated and annexed to Israel.

Not like the other Fridays when work is not done on the fence rote near Bil'in to minimize the confrontation with the demo, there were working there two big tractors. When we tried to stop them from working the state forced who arrived after us acted swiftly with high intensity - including brutal pushes and shock grenades, and force us to move a bit so the work could continue. Three Israelis who were not fast enough to comply were detained on the spot, but were released to join the demo half an hour later.

Not like the the last few Fridays since we won the right to do the nonviolent Friday demonstration, the state forces had a new policy, expressed in full later.

The demo continued for nearly two hours with chanting, singing, and dancing, with verbal challenge to individual soldiers and border policemen, when we heard a command passed along the line of the state forces: "in five minutes time". And five minutes later the force stormed us very brutally and with no warning. They used pushing, batons, trough shock and tear gas grenades - both on people beyond the route and those who were on the route. I stayed on the route together with others who were protecting and helping the village head who fainted because of a tear gas damage. It took only minutes to see the reason/pretext for the abrupt brutal assault - the two heavy tractors finished their work and needed the clearing of the route so they can travel to another place.

During the assault on us, Abdallah - the head of the village comity against the separation fence was brutally assaulted and held by the soldiers, but during a treatment of his injuries he got freed from them and returned to the village.

Such a brutal behavior by the state forces who even run after the demonstrators who dispersed to the near by olive orchard could not pass unpunished. Tens of village youth who are ambivalent regarding the nonviolent nature of the main demo, who did not throw stones till that moment, start to do their thing. The state forces responded with increase of violence. More shock and tear gas grenades, and later, authorized from higher echelons switched to shouting rubber coated bullets, including snipers who succeeded to injure in the head a 14 year old kid as retaliation for two soldiers injured by stones.

In parallel to the attrition war between the stone throwers and the state forces, the nonviolent demonstrators reorganized and marched on the road to the fence rout we veered from two hours before.

And so continued the second part of the demo with a less brutal behavior of the state force - only pushes from time to time, and the arbitrary arrest of a Palestinian accusing him for assault on a soldier because he blew smoke from a cigarette towards him....

Following this was verbal confrontation between the state commanders and people of the demo and female relatives including his mother. At the end, they agreed to release him if we end the demonstration, and as the time was late afternoon we got him back - injured from state brutality but free, and returned to the village.

As a team of the main public TV station was with us - producing an item for the next week Friday TV journal, the inputted to this Friday TV main night program a clip showing the unprovoked state force brutality who justified themselves by our "obstructing the fence building".

In parallel to our demo, there was a small demo near the dismantled Berlin wall, to be repeated on the following Fridays.

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