Friday, April 7, 2006

Palestine-Israel, The joint struggle against the fence this Friday in Bil'in and Beit-Sira 07 Apr 2006

The theme of the demonstration in Bil'in was around the death of late Eyad Tahar's who drowned this Sunday morning (2nd April) due to a Lethal Flood Caused by Apartheid Wall Construction in Bil'in: The earth-works of the illegal Barrier is currently acting as a dam that caused the heavy rain torrents to flood the road between the villages of Bil'in and Safa, west of Ramallah. "At 7 am this morning, in a flash flood caused by the annexation barrier near the village of Bil'in two brothers were washed away. A search party is currently attempting to find Eyad Tahar who is still missing, presumed dead. Raad Tahar was found unconscious and has been evacuated to hospital. The Israeli army is currently refusing to let the villager's search party use their equipment to try and drain the flooded area, which according to the villagers is so high that it is over the level of the olive trees. The army says that the area is part of the wall construction, so the villagers are not allowed to move it". Seven hours later, at 2.10pm, Eyad Tahar's dead body was found.

In this Friday demo we marched from the village center on the road leading towards the route of the separation fence, about 100 activists, including 60 Palestinians, 20 Israelis from the anarchists against the wall initiative, 20 internationals, and about 20 media people documenting the demo. People carried lot of placard and pictures of Eyad Tahar murdered by the separation fence works at the beginning of this week.

When we arrived at the route of the separation fence we were blocked by the Israeli state armed forces warning us not to damage the fence... When someone tried to move a bit the barbed wire that was along the gate to the route of the fence, the armed forces got "offended" and showered us with shock grenades. After a while of less intensified confrontation and arrests of two Palestinians, most of the remaining activists marched along the rote of the separation fence towards the point were Eyad Tahar was drowned on Sunday. There, a short ceremony was done, a Palestinian flag and placard of Eyad were hanged on the fence bordering the route of the separation fence. When the people were returning to the village the commander of the Israeli forces sent two soldiers to take of the placard....

The traditional confrontation between the stone throwing youngsters and the tear gas and rubber coated bullet shooting soldiers started only towards the end of demonstration. It seems that during the demo the army refrained from provoking the youngsters, and when the confrontation started, the army refrained from pursuing the youngsters.

The demonstration at Beit Sira was under a harsh threat. The Israeli security services warned the village council and also contacted people of the village who have permits enabling them to work in Israel, threatening them to cancel the permits if the Friday demonstration against the separation fence will take place. The village council building which used to be the meeting place before the demos was closed because of that. However, the village popular comity discussed the threat and decided against the cancellation of the demonstration. They said that the people will decide themselves. And 70 of the village people decided to do participate. They were joined by 30 others: few of the Israelis against the wall initiative, internationals and media.

Following the Bil'in tradition, the Beit Sira demos include too a creative theme. The people in the first line of the demo were chained together.

When the march arrived at the place the Israeli forces blocked them, the stone throwing youth tried to start their own confrontation. However, as the village activists forced the youngsters to retreat a bit, their stones have not reached the Israeli state forces. After a short half hours demo the people returned to the village and the state forces mounted their cars and left - without confronting the stone throwers.

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