Friday, February 3, 2006

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, Is the joint struggle nearing its end? Friday demo of 3-2-06

When the "theme" of the last Friday demo in Bil'in turned to be the denouncing of the Danish media for its insulting of the prophet Mohamad, few questions are alerting. Till few weeks ago, each of the Friday joint demonstrations on going for the last 12 months was around a common subject against the separation fence and occupation. The creative materialization of the theme was usually done together by people of the Bil'in popular comity and Israeli activists. The most prominent expression of the joint struggle was one of the meeting in Bil'in between the local comity and activists of The Anarchists Against The Wall initiative, that was held about a month ago, in which were decided on the activities leading towards the hearing of the case of Bil'in in the Israeli Highest court of "justice" at the 1st of february.

It is amazing how the results overtook the most optimist expectation: the wide coverage in the Israeli media of the use of the fence as a tool to rob lands of Bil'in for the high profit of the construction companies who build the settler town Modi'in Illit; the building of the Bil'in center for joint struggle for peace on the West side of the separation fence adjacent to the illegal construction site of the settler town - a structure the Israeli state found too complicated to destroy or block the activity around it...; even the intervention of the highest court that suspended the continuation of the building of the settler town district till final decision was part of achievements; and there was the huge thousand strong demonstration planed and carried out just few days before the election of Palestinian parliament and the hearing in the highest court in which 400 Israelis took part.

However, at the midst of delight, doubt starts to nag.... and more so after the religious subject that had nothing in relevance to the joint struggle against the separation fence and occupation turned to be the theme of last Friday demonstration. Doubts increase as it happened on the background of the absence of the creative theme in the joint demos of the last few weeks, and the suggestion of people of the local comity to refrain in the last big demo from placards in Hebrew against the separation fence, and regard the election propaganda as sufficient.

In spite of all and the heavy rain, at noon, after the "belligerent speech" against the Danish media and the burning of Danish flags, we started towards the route of the separation fence. The heavy rain destroyed the islamic placards in arabic and extinguish the burning flags, thus saving us from the embarrassment of being seen as anarchists against the wall protesting against the insulting of Mohamad. We were about 100 of us protected by umbrellas or in cars - about 50 palestinians, 30 Israelis, and 20 internationals, persistently marching and jumping rain pools on the road till we approached the fence. When we neared the fence we turned from the road and with swift march succeeded to enter the route of construction, and many of us even crossed it to the other side.

For about an hour in which the rain gradually stooped we were in the usual push and pull struggle with the Israeli state forces who limited our movement around - though in less intense level than previous demos. The state forces missed the confrontation of tear gas with the stone throwers youngsters. Thus, when the peaceful non violent demo was declared ended, they mixed with the demonstrators who were marching back to the village to provoke the stone throwers... (with people hearing their talk among themselves that they hope the stones thrown will also hit the returning demonstrators). In order to ignite the process, they started to shoot tear gas canisters even before the first stones were thrown...

Few of the returning Israeli demonstrators tried to block the tear gas shooting. As reprisal the state forces grabbed few but only one was not unasserted, and taken for a night in jail till he will be brought before magistrate Saturday evening. One of the Israelis was even hit in the forehead with a tear gas canister and she was taken to hospital.

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