Friday, March 10, 2006

Palestine-Israel, Media, The joint struggle against the separation fence contine - Friday 10-03-06

The joined struggle of villages popular comities and the Israeli Anarchists Against The Wall initiative continued this Friday with two demonstrations: The Abud village was not included this Friday as there is in force a Highest Court stay - blocking the work of the separation fence there for two weeks. The Bil'in traditiional Friday regained the creative thema mood with a huge coffine. In Beit-Seera village the struggle continued in spite of the harsh repression applied by the state forces trying to prevent the devolopment of a second Bil'in style arena.
Following are Israeli Media on the injury of Matan Cohen* two weeks ago at the Beit-Seera Friday demo [1], and a Bannoura-IMEMC report on last Friday's tween demos [2]:

[1] Injured anti-fence 'anarchist' speaks out -

Matah Cohen* has sustained eye injuries while protesting the security fence near Ramallah; Says: 'I feel like the blood of Left-wing activists is cheap'

Meital Yasur Beit-Or

Matan Cohen, 17, from Tel Aviv, and a member of the "Anarchists Against the Fence" organization, was injured while demonstrating against the security fence near Ramallah.

"My feeling is that the blood of Left-wing activists and the Palestinians is cheap," he said.

Cohen was shot by Border Police and injured in his eye, and has been hospitalized in the Tel Hashomer Medical Center since Friday.

If bleeding does not stop within 24 hours, Cohen will undergo surgery. In either case, doctors believe his eye has sustained damage. In the best case, his visual range will be affected, and in the worst case, he would lose complete vision in the eye. "Up until now I can't see out of the eye, and they'll be able to see if there's damage only in a few days. I'm worried about damage in my eye and I really hope the bleeding stops," said Cohen.

Cohen sustained an injury to his eye (Photo: Yaron Brenner)

Members of the organization have begun documenting their demonstrations due to past experiences with violence. "We have recordings of an army commander who said that he doesn't want the situation to turn violent, and who tried to calm things down, saying not to shoot. But a Border Police is also heard saying 'shoot everyone one of them with a rubber bullet.' When I was shot I was standing with three people, within around a 20 meter range from a Border Police force. We said: 'Don't shoot, we are not threatening you and we are not endangering you,' but they opened fire, and also directed it to the head, violating all of their rules of engagement. I felt the impact in the eye, and with the remainder of my strength, I managed to run from them. My entire hand and head were filled with blood," said Cohen.

'No connection to Amona'

Cohen says there is no connection between violence of soldiers against Right-wing demonstrators in Amona and Left-wing demonstrators: "In our demonstrations, they shoot live bullets in order to kill. In Right-wing demonstrations, no gas or shock grenades have ever been thrown. This is violence which is many times larger. The feeling is our blood is cheap. But violence which takes place when the life of a police officer is not under threat should be condemned, it doesn't matter from which side it occurs."

Three soldiers and Border Police officers were injured by rocks thrown at them. One police officer was taken to hospital.

According to police, two disturbances of the peace took place on Friday in the Ramallah area, as part of protests against the construction of the security fence. Hundreds of Palestinians, Left-wing activists, and foreigners took part in the disturbances, whom entered a closed military zone. Demonstrators threw rocks at security forces, who responded with crowd dispersal means.

Cohen, who completed his high school studies, has been taking part in protests against the route of the fence for three years, and says he witnessed harsh violence on the part of soldiers and Police officers. "The approach is that it's legitimate to fire at demonstrators, even when they are nonviolent. The IDF and Border Police use live ammunition, tear gas, and rubber bullets, and hundreds of people have been injured in this period. In yesterday's demonstration another 11 Palestinians were injured, one of them was even operated on at a hospital in Ramallah," he said.

Residents, Israelis and International peace activists protest against the annexation Wall Saed Bannoura-IMEMC & Agencies - Friday, 10 March 2006, 19:14

Image Several residents, Israeli and International peace activists and a reporter were injured, on Friday afternoon, during protests against the annexation Wall in the villages of Beit Seera and Bil'in, near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Soldiers attacked the peaceful processions in the two villages and fired rubber-coated bullets and gas bombs at the protesters before attacking them with batons.

The Maan News Agency reported that Abbas Al Momany, a local reporter working with an international news agency was hospitalized after suffering a rubber-coated bullet injury in his head.

Also, a medical source at the Red Crescent Society reported that four residents identified as Abdul-Nasser Abu Rahma, 17, Mustafa Jamil Abu Rahma, 13, Sameer Burnat, 33, and Rateb Abu Rahma, 40, were among the protesters injured during the procession.

The source added that soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets at the ambulance causing damage to its windows.

The protesters carried a symbolic 10-meter coffin wrapped with a white cloth representing the villages strangled by the Wall.

"The deceased: residents of Bil'in and villages surrounded by the Wall, Cause of death: The Annexation Wall, Time: 2006, Place; Palestine", was written on the coffin.

One of the protesters said that this coffin symbolizes the Palestinian villages that are strangled by the Wall and the residents who became isolated and unable to reach their orchards, their only source of livelihood.

"We are here to resist, and continue our resistance against this Wall that annexed 2300 Dunams of the orchards in Bil'in”, the protester stated, "They annexed 60% of our orchards and isolated them behind the Wall, they want to starve and isolate us in our villages”.

He added that the protesters want to convey a message to the world that settlements and the Wall are annexing the orchards, the only source of livelihood of the residents.

David Nier, member of an Israeli movement against the Wall, said that the Israelis who came to the protest with the residents, are here to protest against the Wall that isolated the residents and made their lives hard and bitter.

A Palestinian protester [Ranny], sitting on his wheelchair, said that he was injured and paralyzed by the Israeli army during the first Intifada, and that he came today to Bil'in to protest against the annexation wall and the Israeli policy of land grab and apartheid.

"Each time I protest I inhale gas fired by the army”, he said, “But I, as well as every Palestinian, am determined to protest against Israel's policy of segregation”.

Meanwhile, an Israeli army source claimed that six soldiers were mildly injured during the clashes.

Local, Israeli and International peace activists confirmed that troops violently attacked the peaceful protesters and attempted to bar them from reaching the construction site of the Wall.
* Matan Cohen is long time member of the Israeli Anarchists Aagainst The Wall initiative who was on a speacking towr in Europe last Summer. After his injury was all over the media he was also intreviewd in main radio and TV channels.

** Rateb Abu-Rahma is a social work and psychology professor of the Palestinian Bir Zeit university.

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