Monday, May 22, 2006

Israel-Palestine: Bil'in and the joint struggle against the wall 22 May 2006

The theme of today's demo was Palestinian villages today and the Nakba of 1948. Bil'iners and members of the Anarchists Against the Wall, as well as ISM and international activists, carried signs with the names of villages affected, cut off, or encapsulated by the occupation. Notably we carried a banner showing Dir Yassin in 1948 and Bil'in in 2006 with the title 'disaster' in Arabic, English and Hebrew.
The army and police were already waiting for us as usual. Today (like the last 3 weeks) they were waiting in armoured vehicles, well secure behind the barbed wire barricade they set up since the protesters destroyed the yellow checkpoint gate at the fence route.

We started off by singing and shouting slogans at the soldiers on the fence. Then a rock was thrown at the soldiers by some of the village youths and the Israeli army threw stun and smoke grenades at the protesters, then they entered the village territory and started shooting rubber-coated bullets at the stone throwers.

This effectively split the demo in half, some wanted to follow the soldiers and make sure they stop shooting and others wanted to breach the apartheid fence. Eventually we decided to go ahead with our original plan and lay a carpet over the barbed wire and crossed over to the occupied side. We were immediately stopped with stun and smoke grenades and rubber bullets. 6 were wounded, one severely, he was shot in the forehead with a rubber-coated bullet. 15 were arrested, one of the arrestees was a 14-year-old boy. Of these, all but 2 were later released.

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Dear Friends,

Yesterday's demonstration in Bil'in exposes once again the brutality of the Israeli army and police against nonviolent demonstrators. During the past weeks we're witnessing an escalation of violence from the armed forces, as if this is a result of higher ranks' orders - to suppress any attempt of resistance during the last building stages of the annexation fence.

During a long day of injuries and arrests:

15 were detained (7 Palestinians, 5 Israelis and 3 Internationals), including a 14 year-old child. Out of these two were eventually arrested (Wajie and Kobi) while all others were released.

Wajie was detained for 8 hours and released eventually without charge at the fence area. A complaint regarding detention and treatment will be issued. Kobi is charged with assaulting a policeman and is held at the Giv'at Ze'ev station. The police refused to view the evidence which was handed to them and release him during yesterday, even though the video evidence clearly refutes the charges against him. Kobi's court hearing will be held tonight at the Russian Compound in Jerusalem/Al-Quds.

19 protestors have been injured during the demonstration by rubber-coated bullets, shock grenades, beatings and inhalation of teargas.

At least 5 of them have been hospitalized at the Ramallah hospital.

Hitham Khateeb was hit by a rubber coated bullet between the eyes. As result of the serious injury his doctors were concerned with a fracture to the skull, which was later diagnosed as a fracture to the nose-bridge. Hitham's condition is improving as of Saturday.

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