Saturday, November 25, 2006

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, 21 months of Fridays demonstrations against occupation and separation fence] 25 Nov 2006

This Friday was just another sunny day of the late Autumn. A contingent of Israeli activists of the anarchists against the wall from the Tel Aviv region and Jerusalem arrived in Bil'in at the late morning. There we met some of the local activists we have shaking hands and hugged for so many times - in Fridays and in week days of joint struggle. With a warm comrade gesture we were given the Palestinian newspaper AlKuds from the beginning of the week - where a large photograph of our Saturday direct action (near Gaza) was on the front page. At noon, a moderate size demonstration of Palestinians (mostly from Bil'in), international activists and Israelis started the march towards the route of the separation fence. At the front was a tractor which was lately prevented from passing the fence to its West side and plow there lands of the village.

Chanting all the way we arrived at the blocked gate to route of the fence and to the other side of it. There started the usual verbal confrontation with the soldiers blocking our way - behind the gate fortified with spools of barbed wire. One of the village activists who tried to pass the block was detained. many of the others started to pull the spools of barbed wire with short breaks when the disapproving state forces threw shock grenades...

When the spools were nearly removed, an action was started by about 5 "brave" stone throwers who accompanied the demonstration instead of confronting like the other stone throwers with the soldiers positioned at the outskirts of the village. They wanted to start stone throwing just when the demo arrived at the fence but were talked out of it along some 30 minutes till they defy requests and past agreement not to disrupt the nonviolent demonstration.

As expected, the state force responded with barrage of shock grenades and fire of live ammunition in the air. However, the nonviolent demonstrators who got used to the sporadic explosions of shock grenades during the spools pulling did not run far away as in previous cases. And as the "brave" stone throwers who found that our backs are not protecting them any more fled fast and faraway, allowing the nonviolent demonstrators to continue the pulling of the barbed wire spools and the low intensity confrontation with the state force.

At a point where the spool were nearly untangled, 4 officers of the state force - including two lieutenants and a captain, came forward to "protect" the closed gate and a stand still was arrived at.

This way we continued another hour in which the international activists and the media workers of various local and international channels were debriefed.

Then the demonstration was declared as finished and we started to return to the village. As usual, we had to leave the road to detour the road at the entrance to the village as it was as usual the war zone where lot of village youngsters confronted with stones a contingent of Israel state force who responded with tear gas and shock grenades and shooting bullets coated with rubber.

Here two one of the "brave" stone throwers sneaked behind our backs trying to use us as a shield while trowing stones... but was shamed into going away.

When I returned home in the late afternoon I heard the afternoon news of the main public channel reporting about the Bil'in demonstration - as they do so often on Fridays. (It reported about 100 participants and 6 injured, with out discerning between the nonviolent demonstration at the route of the fence (more than kilometer from the village buildings), and the stone throwing confrontation at the courtyards in the outskirt of the village.
Ilan S.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Italy: "Resistance, disobedience, solidarity" - report of an evening with an Israeli refusnik [it] 21 Nov 2006

On Monday 20th November 2006 at the Istituto Tecnico-Commerciale Battisti in Fano, eastern Italy, with Lior Volinytz, a 19-year-old Israeli refusnik and activist in the Anarchists Against the Wall initiative. Attendance was quite good, with around 60 people present, mostly young secondary school students. Lior spoke about how he became an anti-militarist, about his decision to refuse military service and finally about his decision to join the Anarchists Against he Wall initiative, an Israeli movement that supports the non-violent struggle of Palestinian villagers against the Wall, in particular in Bil'in where fore the past 20 months, every Friday the village's Popular Committee organizes a non-violent demonstration against the Wall with the cooperation of international activists, Israelis from Anarchists Against the Wall and others.

There was strong reaction from the slides that Lior showed and the videos of the demonstrations against Israel's militarist policies in Tel Aviv and against the Separation Wall at Bil'in in Palestine, where the IDF does not hesitate to use violent methods against non-violent demonstrators. Answering questions from the audience, Lior clearly illustrated the strategy of the Wall to isolate the Palestinians and to steal their land far beyond the 1967 Green Line, all with the vital support they receive from the colonist lobby, mostly fascists and religious fundamentalists, many of whom are sent into Palestinian territory from the Israeli government itself.

The initiative was organized by the "FuoriTempo" association together with other local groups, with the cooperation of the FdCA's Fano/Pesaro branch, in particular with regard to Italian-language material on the activities of Anarchists Against The Wall and the libertarian left in Israel.

D.R. Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici - Fano/Pesaro Branch

From: Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici

Friday, November 17, 2006

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, Just a regular act of joint struggle against the fence and occupation. 17 Nov 2006

For long we have already stopped to count the Friday demonstration and other direct actions we did together in Bil'in since February 2005 (more than hundred joint confrontations with the Israeli state forces, by the Bil'in villagers together with the Israeli activists of the anarchists against the wall and international activists. To day we started as usual at noon with the march on the road leading to the route of the separation fence. Chanting all the way to the blocked gate to the route and beyond. On the way we could see the Israeli soldiers standing near the last houses of the village, waiting in provocation for the stone thrower youth. Most of the youth dispersed on the two sides of the road waiting for the usual confrontation to start. About 5 of them "joined" the match towards the blocked gate to the route, to throw stones behind the backs of the non violent demonstration.

When we arrived at the blocked gate we seen that the state forces fortified it with lot of spools of barbed wire. The more daring demonstrators were not satisfied by merely verbal confrontation and started to pool the barbed wire so the gate will not be blocked.... From time to time, the state forces threw shock grenades, but the experienced demonstrators just moved a meter or so from grenades and continue pooling.

Standing on elevated ground near the gate I seen there the stone throwers contemplating when to start to throw the stone behind our backs. After a while, one of the started to count loudly and at three they threw a short shower of stones and run away - leaving the nonviolent demonstrators to receive the retaliation of the state forces to continue their throwing from a less dangerous distance.

The state forces used plenty of shock grenades, tear gas canisters and even shoot metal bullets covered by rubber.

On our way back we seen a group of soldiers who forced their way to the roof of a house in the outskirt of the village and was shooting and throwing grenades on the stone throwers and the returning demonstrators. Few Israelis and local comrades confronted them verbally and it took long time till they got down from the roof.

During the time of confrontation till we returned to Tel Aviv, one Palestinian was hit with a bullet to his head and was rushed to hospital. One Israeli comrade was hit a bit less seriously in her belly. Many had nasty experience with the tear gas.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Palestine Israel, Azun Atme, A new front of joint struggle against the separation fence and occupation 16 Nov 2006

Azun Atme is a typical Palestinian village. Less than two thousands inhabitants, and many of his adults are working their land. In many ways it is not so typical as it has modern hothouse agriculture - in addition to the traditional olive grooves. It is also different as it is cut by the separation fence that pass on its East. About a month ago the village was notified that there will be built a separation fence that will encircle the village from all sides and will robe 4 thousand dunams (4 square kilometers) of its land. It will also encircle as separate entity a small part of the village on the the other side of the road that was built to serve the near by Israeli colonial settlements. A delegation of the anarchists against the wall initiative was invited to a meeting to discus the option for joint struggle and today was the first demonstration against the new separation fence that was already started to be built.

Around noon, a group of activists of the AATW joined two hundreds of Azun villagers (including few of its females and some old people) near the municipality house and started a long march towards the site of the works on the separation fence. The marchers held high lot of banners and flags.

When we were on our way from the intersection to the village and when we assembled near the municipality armored cars of the Israeli forces showed their presence. When we arrived near the fence building site few armed cars and a chain of soldiers blocked our way.

After half an hour nearly quiet stand still the commander declared the area behind the road block as closed military area threating to arrest any one who will cross that line. Then a belligerent sergeant started to harass some children and activists of AATW confronted him and made him stop.

After another hour the demonstration ended and every one returned home.

It was a strange experience to see and hear talking two inhabitants of a near by Israeli colonialist settlement who came to the demonstration in support to the objection to the new fence surrounding the Azun village.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, Friday demonstration continue and draw supporters from all over the world. 10 Nov 2006

This Friday demonstration was following a Thursday meeting of the Bil'in popular comity for struggle against the separation fence and activists of the anarchists against the wall initiative. In the meeting we discussed the strategy for the near future struggle and today's demo. In this demo who started at noon from the village center towards the route of the separation fence participated the usual Bil'in villagers, Israeli anarchists against the wall, ISM internationalists and also a delegation of white haired old time activists from France, including the comrade injured in Bil'in last Friday by Israeli live amunition. We marched along the road chanting as usual, and to the sound drams with black ribos... We roused the memory of thr people murderd at Beit Hanun by Israeli artilery and the second year for the death of the late Yaser Arafat.

When we arrived at the route of the fence and the blocked entrance to it by the Israeli stae forces one of the marchers gave a speach. Then, we along the fence that border the route in the middle of it pass the electronic separation fence.

On our way we dragged from their place along the border of the route sections of the barbed wire spool. The soldiers did not like it and tried to deter us with shock grenades and even some tear gas canisters. We were not deterred by the noise of the shock grenades. We threw away or back to the soldiers tear gas canisters and suffered a bit the tear gas... but were not deterred.

After a protracted confrontation - including verbal, we reached a point where the fence bordering the route was less prohibiting. While the few soldiers following us tried to stop us, most of the demonstrators who were around, succeeded to enter the route and stay near the electronic fence and even touch it. At that point, lot of the soldiers who harried to block us just confronted physically the few of us who failed to enter the route of the fence.

After a long hour, we decided to return to the village taking a long route so we will evade the battle ground between the stone throwers and the state forces.

This Friday most of the stone throwers respected the agreement with the popular comity to do their acts not within the nonviolent demonstration. Few of them who did not respected it were driven away when they tried to disrupt our activity at the fence by stone throwing.

With the "music" of the shooting of rubber coated bullets and grenades from the battle ground, most of us returned for a meeting summing this Friday demo, some of us - mainly the photographers stayed behind to document the struggle between the state force and the stone throwers to supply some protection by deterring the use of live ammunition, as the soldiers did use last Friday demonstrations - injuring with it the neck of a 13 year old kid and the hand of a 69 year old participant of the France delegation of activists.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, Israeli state forces shoot again live ammunition on demonstrators 03 Nov 2006

This friday demonstration was a relatively successful one. At noon, about 100 of us - Palestinians, internationals and Israelis of the anarchists against the wall initiative, started the 21 months in a row Friday demo. (About 100 and more joint actions of the village popular comity and Israeli anarchists against the wall - with international activists of the ISM mainly. This Friday we had two large contingents from Belgium and France. We marched as usual with chanting along the road leading to the route of the separation fence. (With two regular fences fortified with barbed wire spools on the two sides of the route and the erectric fence in its middle.)

As we do from time to time we did not continue to the blocked gate of the route, but went through the olive groove to a breach in the first fence and started to enter through it to the route. Surprised state forces tried to detere us with tear gas canisters and shock grenades, but many of us succeeded to enter and approached gates to the other side of the fence.

There the state forces gave a fight and moved reinforcemen so few of us who succeeded to pass had to retreat. We had a long low attrition verbal and physical attrition confrontation with the soldiers who blocked our free march within the route along the fence. Sometimes comrades threw away tear gas canister so the gas will not harm us once even throwing back tear gas canister which sofocated the soldiers who then were more restraint in tear gas canister throwing.... At some point, the soldiers yielded a bit and let the demonstrators who could not enter the fence route due to tear gas attack on the breach in the fence join us through the main gate....

After a long confrontation we decided toreturn to the village and the soldiers even cut for us the barbed wire that blocked the main gate from the route to the village.

As happen often lately, the youth who confront with stones the state forces engaged the contingents of gendarmes and soldiers who are sent to the outskirt of the village to provoke them. This way they respect the fragile agreement not to mix with us and not to throw stones behind our backs that give the state forces excuse to assoult us nonviolent demonstrators.

When we approached the fringe of the village we found our way blocked by a battle field between the stone throwers and the state forces. We even were witnesses to a police car entrupted for a while in a small alley by stone throwers. A bit later reinforcement of the state forces arrived and harased some of the demonstrators who failed to pass around the battle ground through the hills...

One of the Israelis was detained there for a while till she was released from the gendarm's car. The hand of an international activist age 69 was shoot at with live ammunition and was taken with ambulance to hospital in Ramalla, three Palestinians were injured less seriously. Lot of us suffered from non voluntary inhaling of tear gas of the new and more pungent strain tested last few weeks in Bil'in.

(It is well known and was even often in the Israeli media that the Israeli state forces using the assoults on the Bil'in Friday demonstrations as a test ground for various "nonlethal" means for dispersing crowds.)

The Israeli public radio channel and the main internet portals reported about the injured oldee activist and even brought our protest about the use of live ammunition that was shoot at him.