Friday, March 31, 2006

Palestine-Israel, the joint struggle against naZionist land grabing continue - Beit Sira, Salfit, Bil'in 31 Mar 2006

First, a call to two Thursday demos* in commemoration of the Land Day massacre of March 30 1976. Dear friends, Next Thursday is Land day which is the 30th annual commemoration of the killings which took place on March 30 1976 . On that day, during a general strike in protest of land confiscation policies the army invaded Arab cities and villages in the Galilee and as a result, 6 Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed and dozens injured. The purpose of the land confiscation policy was to facilitate a plan of the Jewish agency which openly calls for "Judaizing" the Galilee by building more housing for Jews on Arab land. The same policy is being carried out today in the occupied territories and also inside the 1967 borders of Israel. The main instrument of this criminal enterprise is the so called "Separation wall".

There will be two demonstrations in Palestine on this land day in villages which are victimized by the wall in commemoration of Land Day and in protest of the on going land confiscation carried out by the construction of the wall. The regional demonstration for the Ramallah district will be in Beit Sira and the regional demonstration for the Salfit district will be in Rafat. For transportation from Tel aviv please call K. And from Jerusalem call Y. Please call by Wednesday to let us know you are coming.
[The anarchists against the wall initiative people were invited by the organizers to participate]

In the demonstration at Beit Sira were about 100 Palestinians and 10 Israelis. Few people were injured in the confrontation with the state forces including one whose head was hit by a shot.

In Rafat demo that was blocked near the village with special treatment to the about 10 Israelis, there were about 200 participants.

In the traditional Friday demo in Bil'in, there were some surprises... In addition to the usual 100 villagers and 20 internationals we had an enhanced presence of about 70 Israelis we also had 15 diplomats of European embassies as guests.

At noon, we started the march from the center of the village on the road towards the route of the separation fence. At the head was the creative theme of the week: a portable bridge to symbolize the crossing of the separation barrier, and a huge and empty pot representing the economic condition of many of the Palestinians harmed by the economic terror of Israel and the siege all the Palestinians locations are in.

When we arrived at the route of the fence, we were blocked at the rails and gate at the road from the village that lead to the other side of the fence. There, developed the usual verbal and physical confrontation, when at some stage the border police force started to throw on us lot of shock grenades.
They also brutally dismantled the portable bridge we posited above the rails bordering the route of the fence.

The state forces really "succeeded" to make us retreat two meters from part of the route of the fence.... After an hour and four arrests, the end of the demonstration was declared by the popular comity activists and we returned to the village.

As usually, on the olive trees orchard at the North of the road to the fence, a confrontation between the stone throwing youngsters and the soldiers shooting rubber coated bullets and tear gas was going on in parallel to the demo and after it ended.

The afternoon radio news reported on an army officer injured leg from a stone.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Palestine-Israel, the joint struggle against the separation fence and occupation - the Friday demo in Bil'in and Beit-Sira 24 Mar 2006

This Friday, the efforts to block the way for Israeli activists fro joining the demonstrations was concentrated in the road block of Naalin. The rest of the roads and paths were open and about 50 Israelis from the Anarchists Against The Wall initiative and others arrived and split part to Bil'in and part to Beit-Sira. At Bil'in, we marched at noon from the center of the village on the road to the route of the fence. The 150 marchers included about 100 Palestinians, 30 Israeli, and more than 20 international and media people from all over the world. At the head of the demonstration was the theme of the week - four models of buildings representing the illegal buildings of the Matityahu Mizrah new neighborhood of the settler town Modi'in Ilit the highest court issued a stay on its construction and inhabiting; two persons with judges attire; a few big hammers for the destruction of models at the appropriate place and time.

When we arrived at the route of the separation fence, the Israeli armed forces tried in very brutal behaviors... but in vain, to prevent us from doing the symbolic act of destruction the models near the fence After that, they insisted on making us to retreat few meters from the fence route using shock grenades, tear gas canisters, and physical aggression, and arrests... but failed again.

Their only achievement was causing the youngsters to leave the non violent demonstration, disperse among the olive trees on the orchards on the two sides of the road, and to start the attrition war of stones versus tear gas grenades and rubber coated bullets.

The brutal confrontation of the state forces with the demonstrators that did stay continued for a while till they resigned to a kind of a draw, and the demonstrators stayed there for a relatively peaceful hour till the demo finished.

Summing the day in Bil'in: four seriously injured from shooting and physical aggression; four Israelis were arrested and taken for procession to the Givat Zeev police station; three Palestinians were detained too from whom two were released at the end of the demo and one arrested and taken to the Jerusalem police at the "Russian Compound".

The Friday demo of Beit-Sira experienced too the brutality of the Israeli armed forces. Participated in it about 250 people among them about 20 Israelis. At the beginning, about 10 demonstrators arrived before the state forces and tied themselves to trees and fence at the construction site. They were forced to retreat and join the main body of the demonstration by the arriving state forces. Then, a kind of repetitive ritual started: First, the state forces shoot at the demonstrators tear gas and rubber coated bullets; Then some of the demonstrators started to retaliate with stone throwing; Then the activists of the village popular comity make the stone throwers stop; Then the state forces regain shooting and the cycle starts again. Five of the demonstrators were injured significantly - two of them with bullets. In addition, two Palestinian medics of the ambulance were injured when a tear gas canister was shoot into their ambulance. These injured were added to the count of more than 70 injured in the demonstrations in Beit-Sira of the last few weeks.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Palestine-Israel, The joint struggle against the separation fence continue - Bil'in, Beit-Sira 17-03-06

The demonstrations in Bil'in were again headed by creative theme. The previous Friday had a huge coffin... this week we had a model of the wall in metal on which various graphite were inscribed. This model was carried in the front of the march of about 150 demonstrators and media - including about 20 Israelis of the anarchists against the wall initiative (other 10 were gone to the Beit Sira demo) and about 10 internationals. We started as usually at noon from the center of village with a 20 minutes march of chanting till we arrived at the gate of the fence route at the location where it cut the road to the western lands of the village. There, the state forces blocked our way. Due to the few meter wide metal model of the wall in our front, the state forces had a problem. they could not attack us so easily or destroy the creative theme.

They trough several shock grenade that succeeded to deter only part of the people on the front. They could not use tear gas as they were too near to us. heating people wits batons was not easily done too as the metal wall protected most of our people. One comrade was hit by a baton on the head so hard that the ambulance had to take him away, but one of the state force shields was broken and taken for a while as a trophy too till a special group of state force were delegated to bring it back.

After the first power struggle of push and pull, the metal wall was static few meters from the fence but a group of our people were allowed to bang with stones on the rails of the metal gate with the sweet "music" of defiance of the state force who usually succeeded in the past to prevent us from.

During the hours of the small intensity confrontation one Israeli was detained and took to the Givat Zeev police station and released only few hours later.

As in most other Friday demonstrations in Bil'in, after the first confrontation many youngsters disperse in the adjacent olive orchards and for hours engage in parallel to the main nonviolent demonstration with stone throwing the state forces who retaliate with tear gas and rubber coated bullets.

Following this week hearing of the highest court of "justice" on the case of Bil'in which was sympathetic in a way to the struggle against the route of the fence there the media started to report again widely on the Friday demos against the separation fence. In the public radio news broadcast they reported that in this Friday demos ten demonstrators were injured and few state force persons too.

Beit-Sira - the new and hot location of joint struggle which was witnessing harsh repression by the Israeli state forces need a special report:

"In terms of organization, the demonstration was a marked improvement over last week. An artistic theme was picked, dignitaries were invited and many people attended. My own (possibly misinformed) impression was that the popular committee was working well as a group.

About 500 people marched on the route of the wall which is within 20 meters of the last houses of Macabim. It is possible that some of the people from Macabim recognized some of the people from Beit Sira. Many people from Beit Sira know people from macabim and vice versa.
However, not a single person from Macabim spoke out in protest over the confiscation of the village lands in the last two years since the route of the wall was proposed between Beit Sira and Macabim. Some people from Macabim (probably the great majority) files a court petition to move the wall further from Macabim and by that take away more of Beit Sira's land.

The march met a line of soldiers and after the dignitaries finished speaking at the refusal of the soldiers to allow the march to continue forward the march ended and a confrontation of stones vs rubber bullets and tear gas began. The Young people of the village have little patience for the soldiers who they meet twice every week day on their way to school and back. The soldiers harass them as they pass under the 443 road on their way to the high school near Safa.

Four people were injured by rubber bullets. The injuries were to the legs and backs.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Israel-Palestine, A call of the Anarchists Against The Wall for the Friday demo against the separation fence 15 Mar 2006

Today's invasion of Jericho with the tacit cooperation of the British and American governments had one predictable outcome. That is, the increase in animosity towards foreigners and the further isolation of Palestinians from the rest of the world. The Israeli government makes no secret of its wishes to isolate Palestinians and apparently they don't mind shedding blood to do so.
Those of us who have supported the Palestinian popular struggle have also felt these attempts to isolate Palestinians first hand. The army's efforts to prevent Israelis from joining Palestinians in demonstrations are another aspect of the same oppressive policy which led to the invasion. Our response to these efforts has been to continue to challenge them and insist on our right to demonstrate and our duty to support Palestinians. When we did persist we always managed to overcome the army and join the demonstrations. Our response to this latest provocation should be as always, to continue with our support, to not walk away from our partners and from our joint struggle which has been one of the few positive development of the recent years.

In addition the court cases of Bil'in against the construction of Modi'in Ilit on the village's lands will start tomorrow (Wednesday). It is important to continue the pressure while the case is in court.

Please make every effort to join the Friday demonstrations this week. Please register with us before Thursday evening.
If you are coming from Tel Aviv please call Shay From Jerusalem, call Sa'ar Thank you.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Israel, Tel-Aviv, Demonstration against Iisraeli war mongering in Jericho 14 Mar 2006

Gush Shalom (Israeli Peace Bloc) : "URGENT - demo at 7 (NOW!) Defence Ministry T-A old place Kaplan street Anarchists initiated it, Women's Coalition came up with the slogan "Kadima to War" - everybody to participate
>> [againstwall] URGENT: DEMO TODAY INFRONT OF HAKIRYA, 19.00:

Kadima to War

Olmert is leading us to another bloody war!
A Demonstration today, 19.00, infront of the ministery of defence in Tel Aviv against the IDF invaison to Jericho
for the release of all political prisoners.

for more details

Media report:
Left activists demonstrate in Tel Aviv against the action in Jericho

Tuseday, 14 March 2006, 20:56 Walla editors tens of left activists demonstrate in front of the defence (war) compaund in Tel Aviv in protest of the activity in Jerico.

In the Kol Israel (public radio broadcasting) was reported that in parallel to them demonstrated a small group of the Baruch Marzel people (the exreme fascists racists).

Friday, March 10, 2006

Palestine-Israel, Media, The joint struggle against the separation fence contine - Friday 10-03-06

The joined struggle of villages popular comities and the Israeli Anarchists Against The Wall initiative continued this Friday with two demonstrations: The Abud village was not included this Friday as there is in force a Highest Court stay - blocking the work of the separation fence there for two weeks. The Bil'in traditiional Friday regained the creative thema mood with a huge coffine. In Beit-Seera village the struggle continued in spite of the harsh repression applied by the state forces trying to prevent the devolopment of a second Bil'in style arena.
Following are Israeli Media on the injury of Matan Cohen* two weeks ago at the Beit-Seera Friday demo [1], and a Bannoura-IMEMC report on last Friday's tween demos [2]:

[1] Injured anti-fence 'anarchist' speaks out -

Matah Cohen* has sustained eye injuries while protesting the security fence near Ramallah; Says: 'I feel like the blood of Left-wing activists is cheap'

Meital Yasur Beit-Or

Matan Cohen, 17, from Tel Aviv, and a member of the "Anarchists Against the Fence" organization, was injured while demonstrating against the security fence near Ramallah.

"My feeling is that the blood of Left-wing activists and the Palestinians is cheap," he said.

Cohen was shot by Border Police and injured in his eye, and has been hospitalized in the Tel Hashomer Medical Center since Friday.

If bleeding does not stop within 24 hours, Cohen will undergo surgery. In either case, doctors believe his eye has sustained damage. In the best case, his visual range will be affected, and in the worst case, he would lose complete vision in the eye. "Up until now I can't see out of the eye, and they'll be able to see if there's damage only in a few days. I'm worried about damage in my eye and I really hope the bleeding stops," said Cohen.

Cohen sustained an injury to his eye (Photo: Yaron Brenner)

Members of the organization have begun documenting their demonstrations due to past experiences with violence. "We have recordings of an army commander who said that he doesn't want the situation to turn violent, and who tried to calm things down, saying not to shoot. But a Border Police is also heard saying 'shoot everyone one of them with a rubber bullet.' When I was shot I was standing with three people, within around a 20 meter range from a Border Police force. We said: 'Don't shoot, we are not threatening you and we are not endangering you,' but they opened fire, and also directed it to the head, violating all of their rules of engagement. I felt the impact in the eye, and with the remainder of my strength, I managed to run from them. My entire hand and head were filled with blood," said Cohen.

'No connection to Amona'

Cohen says there is no connection between violence of soldiers against Right-wing demonstrators in Amona and Left-wing demonstrators: "In our demonstrations, they shoot live bullets in order to kill. In Right-wing demonstrations, no gas or shock grenades have ever been thrown. This is violence which is many times larger. The feeling is our blood is cheap. But violence which takes place when the life of a police officer is not under threat should be condemned, it doesn't matter from which side it occurs."

Three soldiers and Border Police officers were injured by rocks thrown at them. One police officer was taken to hospital.

According to police, two disturbances of the peace took place on Friday in the Ramallah area, as part of protests against the construction of the security fence. Hundreds of Palestinians, Left-wing activists, and foreigners took part in the disturbances, whom entered a closed military zone. Demonstrators threw rocks at security forces, who responded with crowd dispersal means.

Cohen, who completed his high school studies, has been taking part in protests against the route of the fence for three years, and says he witnessed harsh violence on the part of soldiers and Police officers. "The approach is that it's legitimate to fire at demonstrators, even when they are nonviolent. The IDF and Border Police use live ammunition, tear gas, and rubber bullets, and hundreds of people have been injured in this period. In yesterday's demonstration another 11 Palestinians were injured, one of them was even operated on at a hospital in Ramallah," he said.

Residents, Israelis and International peace activists protest against the annexation Wall Saed Bannoura-IMEMC & Agencies - Friday, 10 March 2006, 19:14

Image Several residents, Israeli and International peace activists and a reporter were injured, on Friday afternoon, during protests against the annexation Wall in the villages of Beit Seera and Bil'in, near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Soldiers attacked the peaceful processions in the two villages and fired rubber-coated bullets and gas bombs at the protesters before attacking them with batons.

The Maan News Agency reported that Abbas Al Momany, a local reporter working with an international news agency was hospitalized after suffering a rubber-coated bullet injury in his head.

Also, a medical source at the Red Crescent Society reported that four residents identified as Abdul-Nasser Abu Rahma, 17, Mustafa Jamil Abu Rahma, 13, Sameer Burnat, 33, and Rateb Abu Rahma, 40, were among the protesters injured during the procession.

The source added that soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets at the ambulance causing damage to its windows.

The protesters carried a symbolic 10-meter coffin wrapped with a white cloth representing the villages strangled by the Wall.

"The deceased: residents of Bil'in and villages surrounded by the Wall, Cause of death: The Annexation Wall, Time: 2006, Place; Palestine", was written on the coffin.

One of the protesters said that this coffin symbolizes the Palestinian villages that are strangled by the Wall and the residents who became isolated and unable to reach their orchards, their only source of livelihood.

"We are here to resist, and continue our resistance against this Wall that annexed 2300 Dunams of the orchards in Bil'in”, the protester stated, "They annexed 60% of our orchards and isolated them behind the Wall, they want to starve and isolate us in our villages”.

He added that the protesters want to convey a message to the world that settlements and the Wall are annexing the orchards, the only source of livelihood of the residents.

David Nier, member of an Israeli movement against the Wall, said that the Israelis who came to the protest with the residents, are here to protest against the Wall that isolated the residents and made their lives hard and bitter.

A Palestinian protester [Ranny], sitting on his wheelchair, said that he was injured and paralyzed by the Israeli army during the first Intifada, and that he came today to Bil'in to protest against the annexation wall and the Israeli policy of land grab and apartheid.

"Each time I protest I inhale gas fired by the army”, he said, “But I, as well as every Palestinian, am determined to protest against Israel's policy of segregation”.

Meanwhile, an Israeli army source claimed that six soldiers were mildly injured during the clashes.

Local, Israeli and International peace activists confirmed that troops violently attacked the peaceful protesters and attempted to bar them from reaching the construction site of the Wall.
* Matan Cohen is long time member of the Israeli Anarchists Aagainst The Wall initiative who was on a speacking towr in Europe last Summer. After his injury was all over the media he was also intreviewd in main radio and TV channels.

** Rateb Abu-Rahma is a social work and psychology professor of the Palestinian Bir Zeit university.

Monday, March 6, 2006

Palestine-Israel: 3 demonstrations against the Apartheid Wall - Bil'in/Beit Sira, Abud, Tulkarem 06 Mar 2006

This Friday, 3 demos took place simultaneously against the apartheid wall. A direct action took place in Bil'in earlier in the morning where 10 activists (Palestinian/ Israeli and internationals) chained themselves to the fence until forcefully removed by the IDF.
The usual Friday protest then took place at 12 o'clock. Most of the Israeli activists were diverted from Bil'in to Beit Sira after the morning direct action with only a handful of Anarchists Against the Wall (AATW) members remaining in Bil'in for a smaller demonstration. Following the protest, as a response to the ritualistic stone-throwing of the shabab (youth), the army entered the village and fired tear gas and rubber bullets at anybody who was outside, but also into houses.

Success at Abud, where protestors took copies of the newly-issued Supreme Court cease-work order issued for the next two weeks. The soldiers reacted with tear gas but as soon as the order was shown to them they relented and made sure the fence's construction was halted.

In Beit Sira a large number of Palestinian protestors showed up, as well as 15 Israelis and members of the Bil'in village committee to face off only 30 IDF border police. Last week, the IDF violently suppressed the Beit Sira protest, shooting rubber bullets at close range (as near as 10-15m), leading to the wounding of 14 protestors including a Palestinian whose kidney was penetrated by a rubber bullet, and an Israeli who was shot in the eye. This week the army kept its cool, even though more protesters showed up than were expected, and they had to call for reinforcements from the Bil'in units. No rubber bullets were fired, but tear gas and stun grenades were used to disperse the demo. One Israeli activist was hit by a stone thrown by the shabab and received stitches.

On Saturday 3rd March, a few representatives of the AATW joined a small demonstration in Tulkarem against the Jbara checkpoint. The checkpoint sits on the one road which still connects a small village called Hirbet Jbara to the outside world. For a few years, the village has been completely surrounded by the wall and its inhabitants live in a literal jail.

The handful of soldiers at the checkpoint were shocked and unprepared for the demonstration. Unable to control the crowed they panicked and shot live rounds into the air. The demonstrators held their ground and after making their point for about an hour decided to head back.

Although the demonstration was small, it was significant for a few reasons. It is the beginning of a new initiative for joint popular struggle in Tulkarem inspired by the efforts of the Bil'in committee. The organizers say that there are plans to repeat it every Saturday. Most of the demonstrators from Tulkarem were from the general women's union. Given how under-represented women are in many Palestinian demonstrations, this is an important sign. The Palestinian media at least seemed quite interested in the demonstration, the Tulkarem television station aired a report on the demonstration and the Al-Ayyam newspaper wrote a story.