Friday, November 4, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, The joint Friday action theme was direct action and Id Al Fiter holyday 04 Nov

The Friday joint demonstration turned tradition for the last nine months, was characterized this Friday by a direct action against the fence followed by mixed families and activist celebration of the Id Al Fiter holiday in front of the soldiers "protecting" the separation fence in building. The activity started early in the morning, and when the preparations were finished we traveled to the route in which the separation fence is built that pass thorough uprooted groves of olive trees robed from the village people. At the beginning, participated in it about 25 Israelis (from the Anarchists Against The Wall initiative and the coalition against the fence), 10 international activists of the ISM, and 15 activists from the village.

When we arrived within few meters of the route of the fence, there were already present a dozen or two of soldiers, but they were not too focused... Before they could organize, about 20 activist (from the three components of the demo) chained themselves to the metal structure of the fence using metal sleeves to prevent forced unlocking them. How pity, because of a technical problem, the soldiers succeeded to pull the chained people out after few minutes, though not before the media people photographed that. Three of the unchained Israelis were arrested.

Few minutes later, the soldiers pushed all the activists present to a virtual line 50 meters from the route of the fence - were they block the last few weeks the Friday demos since they were forced to legalize them.

The second part of the Friday action started when lot of children (including toddlers) and young teens accompanied with 20 mothers or late sleeper fathers arrived. According to the mood of the holiday, the children and kids received lot of toys with which they started to play in front of the line of the soldiers. To make the children happier, a portable slide was brought for their fun - put just few meters from the line of the soldiers. The adults had to be satisfied with the holiday cookies distributed to all....

(Such playing in front of the soldiers may counter the fear aroused in them during the last few nights invasions of the army into the village and their homes to arrest so called Fridays stone throwers youngsters - nearly 20 of them were taken to the Ofer concentration camp).

During the morning, we were joined by late sleeper villagers and Israeli activists who did not know the start of the demo was changed from noon to early morning. When the people present reached its pick we were about 150 of whom about 40 Israelis, 15 international activists of the ISM and 100 Bil'in villagers.

Because of the specialty of the day activity - direct action and holiday celebration which was leaked to the media, many of its reporters were present - including a mobile TV transmitter for live morning program of the Aljazeera ... The Israeli public radio channel reported on the demo along the day and in the afternoon. They also said the activists chained themselves and that a reporter of Aljazeera TV was hit by soldiers and detained for a while.

Like in the previous legalized Friday demos, after a long while, part of the participants got restless, and started getting out of the road to the olive orchards on its sides through them people can (and often did) go around the soldiers block towards the fence route again. The detention of few people - who were released after a while did not deter us and we did arrived to the fence route, and three comrades who improved the chaining equipment succeeded to chain themselves again. This time in spite of painful pulling of arms of the chained ones, two of them stayed chained after the soldiers stopped their failed efforts.

The soldiers succeeded to force all but the two chained ones back to the road with the main body of the demo... and the two chained remained with six reporters taking pictures of them from every possible angel. The frustrated commander was herd appointing two of his force to keep guarding the two chained and to arrest them the minute they unchained themselves.

In spite the efforts of the small unit to isolate the two chained, few of us succeeded to visit them from time to time to give them moral support, while the demo-celebration continued.

And so it continued till noon when it started raining. we persisted another half an hour and than the demonstration start to disperse. In order to save the chained comrades from the whether and the army, a small group of people went "visiting" them, and while confronting with their guards, enabled them to unchain themselves and escape being arrested. While leaving the place the comrades heard the commander threatening the failed guards with a punishment.

In contradiction to the long chain of Fridays, today, the Israeli state forces failed to make problems to the Israelis arriving to the Friday demo in Bil'in.

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