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.


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