Friday, April 21, 2006

Palastin-Israel, Bil'in, the joint struggle against the separation fence and occupation 21-4-06

About 50 Israelis - mainly from the Anarchists Against The Wall initiative, and 25 international activists arrived to the Bil'in Friday demonstration. At noon, the demonstration started with the usual march from the village center on the road leading towards the route of the separation fence - cutting more than half of the village lands as preparation to their confiscation and annexation to Israel. We were about 150 participants - half of us Bil'in inhabitants. The theme of this Friday demo was the call for boycott on products of Israel. The subject was elaborated on the placard in the three common languages of Arabic, Hebrew and English, and in sample packing containers of Israeli product marked with a big X. The 20 minute march included the usual chants.

When we arrived at the route of the fence, we found the gate closed. Behind it were lot of spools of barbed wire. Behind this were two police cars blocking the road on which stood 5 border police personnel, equipped in addition to their arms with long batons and shields. The rest of the Israeli state forces stayed in their cars that stood a bit farther. This was a repetition of the previous Friday tactic intended to minimize the physical clash with demonstrators that continued till than in the more than a year of Friday demos.

On the first stage of the confrontation - for about an hour, the border policemen just used the sticks to prevent demonstrators from passing the barbed wire spools and enter the route of the separation fence. The continued with this low intensity confrontation even when the demonstrators opened the big metal gate and removed some of the barbed wire. (All along the state forces commander repeated again and again that only the route of the fence is a restricted military zone and demonstrators can do their demo as long as they do not damage the fence or enter the fence route.

They continued in their low intensity even when demonstrators took away police baton and shield broken during the confrontation...

When few demonstrators succeeded to enter the route of the fence, 4 of them were detained. A bit later, after an hour of low intensity confrontation, the state forces threw a shock grenade to the middle of the crowd of demonstrators confronting them. One demonstrator cried after being injured by the grenade and nearly all the others rushed away from the gate. This act left the state force exposed to a shower of retaliating stones from Bil'in people who joined the demo, but not sharing the non-violence strategy of the village popular struggle against the fence comity.

This stone throwing differed qualitatively from the usual confrontation between state force and stone throwing kids that is usually done in the olive trees orchards further a bit from the nonviolent demo.

The state forces responded with heavy shock and tear gas grenades and rubber coated bullet which resulted in 11 people who needed medical treatment - five of which were rushed to the hospital in the near by city Ramalla.

An hour and a half later, three of the 4 people detained released and one taken to the Giv'at Ze'ev police station and released there without any restriction.

The radio channel hourly news bulletins included the announcement of the army spokesperson that said that 4 of the demonstrators were arrested for "attacking a policeman". It included a claim the confrontation started with stone throwing that injured two soldiers and a policeman. The spokesperson "forgot" to reveal that the stone throwing started as retaliation to the shock grenade throwing that injured a demonstrator and dispersed the non-violent demonstration.

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