Friday, September 29, 2006

Subject: (en) Palestine Israel, Bil'in, the joint struggle continue in spite of hot whether and Ramadan fasting 29 Sep 2006

This Friday demonstration was on both Muslim Ramadan (day hours fasting) and Jewish new year... and an exceptional early Autumn Hamsin (hot and dry whether) day. In spite of these the traditional Friday demonstration was not abolished. At noon, about 60 people - Palestinians, internationals and Israelis of the anarchists against the wall initiative started the march on the road towards the separation fence. In spite of the small number, the Ramadan fasting and very hot whether the marching was fast and was accompanied by chanting. When we reached the fence of the last house of the village we had a surprise: the Israeli state forces who confronted us there for the last month trying to put end to the Friday demonstrations with all means they had, were absent. We could see them far away at the entrance to the route of the fence. So, we continued marching not knowing what to expect.

When we arrived at the gate to the route of the separation fence, we still did not know what to expect. The "welcome" words of the commander of state forces was the declaration of the area as a closed military zone. However he immediately added that we can do there our demonstration as long as we do not try to force our way.

When few of us tried to push forward the commander ordered to arrest any one who will really cross the line, but as a matter of fact the half hearted push got a "gentle" counter push - no use of batons or arrests.

For a short while we stayed there telling the state forces what we think on them and afterwards started to return to the village.

On our way we could hear from the olive trees orchards on the two sides of the road the confrontation between teams of state forces sent to provoke the stone throwing youth, and the youth. We hear the shooting of the rubber coated bullets and seeing some of stone throwers in action.

Another week of joint struggle of Israelis and the people of Bil'in against the separation fence and occupation. It started Monday at a tract of land on the West of of the separation fence within the settler colonialist town. We erected there a sign board declaring the intended building of hotel Falastin. We did it on the exact piece of land the settler colonialists had to cover with earth and give back to the Bil'in villager owner - after building there a two lanes road and a square. See:

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, A big demonstration to celebrate 20 months of joint struggle 27 Oct 2006

THE INVITATION: Back to Bil'in - Mass Demo, This Friday, Oct. 27th This coming Friday, October 27th, a large demonstration will be held in Bil'in, for the first time in a long period. Please join us and come to support the people of Bil'in in their just struggle in this critical time. Together we shall call: No to the wall! No to separation No to land grab! Please sign up today to the demonstration: INVITING: The Israeli-Palestinian Coalition Against the Fence: The Popular Committees against the Wall and Settlements in the West Bank, The Poplar Committee-Bilin, Gush-Shalom, Ta'ayush, Women's Coalition for Peace, Yesh Gvul, New Profile, Yesh Din, Balad, ICAHD, Hadash, Maki, Banki, The Student Coalition -Tel Aviv University, Anarchists Against Walls.

THE DEMONSTRATION: At noon, we started... about 300 participants - Israelis (with part of us having to defy harassment of Israeli state forces on the way to Bil'in), Internationals, and Palestinians from the village and from out of it. We marched and chanted carrying few leaders, with Palestinian flags, and whistles and "drams".

When we arrived at the blocked gate to the route of the separation fence and the Bil'in lands West of it, the commander declared as usual that the area is a closed military zone.

While most of us challenged the state force verbally, few of us used the leaders to cross the ditch bordering the route of the separation fence and the barbed wire protecting the fence of the route, and put a ladder on the second line. The state forces expressed their objection to that act with sporadic shock grenade and from time to time even tear gas canisters - some of them were hurled back and prevented the soldiers from harsher measures.

After about half an hour of low level confrontation, the stone throwers decided that our nonviolent demonstration reached its end. Behind our backs which protected them from rubber coated bullets, they started to throw stones on the Israeli state force and the demonstrators who stood near them.

As usual, the state forces started to disperse the nonviolent demonstration with shock grenades and tear gas canisters. The village comity declared the demonstration as finished, and called the people to return to the village. The majority of us escaped from the gate to a not far away point on the road with some defying the state forces and staying behind.

The state forces continue to harass us even after the stone throwers fled and as the wind blew the tear gas towards us we had to return hastily to the village.

During the confrontation with the state forces few of demonstrators were injured (two of them more seriously) and two Israelis were detained and released about an hour after the end of the demonstration.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Palestine-Israel, The joint struggle in Bil'in overcome harasments of stae forces 23 Sep 2006

This Friday the demonstration against the separation fence and the occupation was a bit more lively. It seems it was because of the Wednesday "hafla" party at the outpost of Bil'in center for joint struggle for peace (built on the Bil'in lands the separation fence intend to rob). It was for celebrating Limor Goldstein out of hospital after the operation to extract the bullet shot to his brain about a month ago in the Friday demo in Bil'in. At noon, we started the usual march from the center of the village on the road leading to the route of the separation fence. We were about hundred people - Palestinians from the village and from the region, Israelis of the Anarchists Against The Wall initiative, and internationals. It was the usual chanting and singing till we reached the outskirts of the built area of the village. There, we encountered the Israeli state force of border police gendarmes blocking the road. This time, like the previous one they did not declare the demo illegal or the area closed military zone for the out of village participants. It seems the media scandal and our refusing to yield forced a change in policy. As they were 20 meter inside the village built zone, the verbal confrontation with them even resulted in their retreat these 20 meters to the exact point in the road.

After a non friendly confrontation there with chanting and exchange of words with them the 30 minutes of the demo previously decided on ended. As the stone throwers were already in positions on the two sides of the road leading to the center of the village, we took a detour path around the village buildings. When we cleared the blocked road we could hear the commander of state force order his gendarmes to advance towards the village to confront the potential stone throwers. Their advance was responded with a barrage of stones one of them broke the jaw of one of them.

While the confrontation of stones versus shock and tear gas grenades and shots of rubber coated bullets continued, we completed our detour, but as the road was not free to pass some of us were accepted the invitation to sit in the shade adjacent to a hose near the road. The state forces - in a measure never taken before during the year and a half Friday demonstrations, forced us to leave the shade and tried to push us to the road leading to the center of the village as a live shield to them in their confrontation with the stone throwers. Though they threatened with arrests, pushed us and threatened with arrests and hit with their batons, we refused to yield to their wish. We "escaped" between the courtyards of the neighborhood on the side of the road, (except only one member of the village comity who was arrested and released after an hour or so). With the help of the members of the village popular comity for the nonviolent struggle against the separation fence and occupation we found our way through courtyards and fences. They made special efforts to help us two oldies (me 69 and S. 77) to find the easiest way and pass the fences.

The younger participants infiltrated back to the outskirts of the village confronting the state forces who were forced to retreat from the village.

Then, while the confrontation between the stone throwers and the state forces continued we took the transportation back to Tel Aviv.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, The provocative strategy of the Israeli state force was exposed in the Friday demonstration. 20 Oct 2006

This Friday demonstration we choose entirely new path towards the separation fence. At noon, Palestinians, Israelis of the anarchists against the wall initiative, and internationals started the march towards the separation fence. However, when we approached the last building of the village, we left the road leading to the route of the fence and marched among the olive trees towards a breach in the fence of the the route of the electronic separation fence. As the main force of the state force was among the olive trees within the village busy in the provoking of stone throwers, our march on a deviant path was not attended by them. Thus, we reached unhindered the breach in the fence, then we passed an open gate in the electronic fence, and just as we approached the gate to the other side of the route, the soldiers there intercepted us.

They just made a line and prevented us from passing to the other side of the route so we could go to the structure of the Bil'in center for joint struggle for peace. There we had the usual chanting and verbal confrontation, while we were sitting on the road between the fences.

We could hear far away - in the village, the confrontation between the state force and the stone throwers - explosion of shock and tear gas grenades and shooting of rubber rubbed bullets.

We pointed to the force commander the absurdity of the presence of his force at the far away village while the nonviolent demonstration is at the route of the fence. It was clear for all to see that the delegating of state force to the fringe of the village have nothing to do with the demonstration against the separation fence. It was clear they just do their most to provoke stone throwers so they will able to claim to the media that there was violence in Bil'in.

After a long while, we decided to go back to the village but the state force "punished" us and forced us to go back the same path we came instead of using the near by main road to the village.

While we were returning to the village we had to pass through the area where the state force was confronting the stone throwers, and one of us was injured by a rubber coated bullet.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Palestin-Israel, Bil'in, The joint struggle against the occupation and the separation fence nearly back to normal 15 Sep 2006

This Friday demonstration was influenced very much by the exposing of the border police brutality in the Israeli media, and the return to the agenda of the failure of the application of the naked force by Israeli state. May be the 5 minute clip about the brutality suppression of the demonstrations in Bil'in in the second TV channel did the trick. Any way after a month of efforts to abolish the weekly demonstrations in Bil'in, this friday the Israeli forces did not declare it illegal and did not try to disperse us. As usual, we started at noon the march from the village center on the road leading to the route of the separation fence - Palestinians from Bil'in and from the region, internationals, Israelis from the anarchists against the wall and others. We marched chanting and some time even singing till we reached the last house of the village.

There, we encountered border police troupe who blocked the road and forbidden us from continue to the route of the fence. As we refused to yield without struggle, there started an attrition struggle of pushing mainly. We advanced few meters, and most of us were pushed back few meters - like in previous times, though they succeeded after a while to push most of us to the line of last house, few of us remained behind their line. Though some of them threatened us with their batons, during the pushing, they had strict order not to hit us too hard. Never the less they were not too gentle and few comrades were hurt and some even slightly injured.

This time, the agreement with the stone throwers was respected by them. They did not throw stones were we demonstrated - not before the demonstrated declared ended, and even later they did not throw it on the retreating demonstrators. To be on the safe side when we ended the demonstration we returned in a round about route so not to pass through the stone war zone.

In spite of the provocation of the border police who sent small groups to the orchards on the side of the road, they could not start the stone throwing too early.

When we were returning to the center of the village we could hear the confrontation of the border police and the stone throwers as the police shoot rubber coated bullets.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, The Friday demonstration in solidarity with Imad. 13 Oct 2006

This friday demo in Bil'in was in solidarity with Imad, the local video photographer who persisted in recording the Friday demos in Bil'in. He was arrested and beaten last Friday when documenting the Israeli state force atrocities in the village few hours after the regular nonviolent demonstration. The frustrated Israeli state forces who fail to subdue the stone throwers and invaded the village. In the absence of Israeli and media video camera men they regarded Imad as the only obstacle to the free expression of their fury. Their charges against him were so unreasonable that the military judge refuted them. His verdict to release him was contested by a higher level judge who agreed with the lower level one about the absurd accusations of Imad, but find in the recording by Imad some suspicious remarks - justifying the continuation of his arrest.

As usual, we started at noon our march from the center of the village on the road towards the route of the separation fence. Palestinians, internationals, and people mobilized by the Israeli anarchists against the wall initiative we marched with placards and flags - chanting all the way up to the blocked gate to the route of the separation fence. On the way we have seen the soldiers of the state forces among the olive trees on the border of the building area of the village - inviting the stone thrower youth for the usual confrontation.

In a way, they just served our purpose as the confrontation between them was thus far away from the non violent demonstration. Thus, we could do our thing without being injured by the stone throwers or the retaliation of the state forces.

When we arrived at the blocked gate, the commander recited as on the previous cases that the route of the fence is a closed military zone, and the usual low intensity confrontation - mainly verbal continued.

As usual, the state forces left one meter opening not blocked by the armored cars and the gate, inviting physical confrontation. One palestinian comrade invaded the route starting an effort to detain him. In response, 5 Israelis forced their way to the route to prevent his arrest. At the end of the confrontation a 16 years old Israeli girl was the only detainee while The Palestinian comrade was dearrested, and so were the other 4 Israelis.

After a while, the village comity declared the end of the demonstration and we returned to the village, passing near the stone throwers - hearing from time to time shots of rubber coated bullets and the explosions of tear gas grenades.

Some time after the end of the demonstration the detained Israeli comrade was released in the near by intersection on the Israeli side of the green line.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, The disruption of the Friday demonstrations of joint struggle fail again 08 Sep 2006

This Friday too the Israeli state forces tried to disrupt the joint struggle against the separation fence and the occupation. As usual we started the march on the road leading towards the route of the separation fence at noon, from the center of village. When we arrived at the last building of the village, the Israeli border police soldiers demanded that we will disperse and immediately tried to disperse us. As their instructions did not allow them to shoot us, they tried the "milder" measures - few shock grenades that only make noise, pushing, and hitting people legs with clubs. However, they were very few and low motivated with inept commander. They started to force people on the road back, but most of us just stepped to the side of the road.... After a while they found that most of us stayed behind so they retreated and tried to push the stray ones back to the road.

After a lot of back and forth about 15 of the more experienced stayed behind while the state forces trying hard to heard the others to the village. And when they arrived at the first intersection of the village, the demonstrators just cut contact with them living the soldiers alone in the middle of the road, exposed to the stone throwers who hit them hard.

At that point, the nonviolent demonstration ended - living the arena for the usual war of attrition between the armed soldiers with their new riffles of bean-bag ammunition and the stone throwers.

This friday only one of us was seriously hit with a club on his arm.

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, The disruption of the Friday demonstrations of joint struggle fail again 08 Sep 2006

This Friday too the Israeli state forces tried to disrupt the joint struggle against the separation fence and the occupation. As usual we started the march on the road leading towards the route of the separation fence at noon, from the center of village. When we arrived at the last building of the village, the Israeli border police soldiers demanded that we will disperse and immediately tried to disperse us. As their instructions did not allow them to shoot us, they tried the "milder" measures - few shock grenades that only make noise, pushing, and hitting people legs with clubs. However, they were very few and low motivated with inept commander. They started to force people on the road back, but most of us just stepped to the side of the road.... After a while they found that most of us stayed behind so they retreated and tried to push the stray ones back to the road.

After a lot of back and forth about 15 of the more experienced stayed behind while the state forces trying hard to heard the others to the village. And when they arrived at the first intersection of the village, the demonstrators just cut contact with them living the soldiers alone in the middle of the road, exposed to the stone throwers who hit them hard.

At that point, the nonviolent demonstration ended - living the arena for the usual war of attrition between the armed soldiers with their new riffles of bean-bag ammunition and the stone throwers.

This friday only one of us was seriously hit with a club on his arm.

Israel-Palestine, Media, On a recent casualty in the joint struggle against the separation fence 08 Sep 2006

[The struggle against the separation fence intended to promote annexation of occupied Palestinian lands have not started in Bil'in. However, as it continue without a break for 19 months already it became a symbol. The struggle in Bil'in was initiated by the local popular comity in cooperation with the Israeli Anarchists Against The Wall initiative - of anarchists and other direct action nonauthoritarian activists against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and suppression of their people. Gradually, other people and organizations joined the struggle, on both sides of the separation fence - Palestinians and Israelis and international activists. Lot of people were injured by the Israeli forces during the activities against the separation fence - mostly Palestinians as the Israeli state forces have different rules of suppression for Jews and for Palestinians. The first time the Israeli state forces shoot on purpose an Israeli at his leg - about 3 years ago, the army supreme commander came to visit him at hospital to apologize. Gradually, the public opinion in Israel got used to it a bit and the latest case of Limor Goldstein drew only limited amount of responses. I.S.]

> One blow to the brain By Dalia Karpel

On Friday, August 11th, when the end of the Lebanon War was on the horizon, after several weeks in which no more than token protests had taken place in Bil'in, the weekly demonstration against the separation fence began. Border Police troops, who were waiting, threw stun grenades and fired rubber-coated metal bullets at the demonstrators, even before they left the village to head toward the fence. Limor Goldstein, 28, was wounded in the head by gunfire from a Border Police officer. As documented on the video that was being shot at the time there, two hours elapsed from the time he was injured until he was brought by ambulance to the emergency room at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.

The village of Bil'in, located near Ramallah, has become a symbol of the struggle against the separation fence and has been the focal point for more than a year and a half of joint Palestinian-Israeli demonstrations, held on Fridays. While the protests are intended to be nonviolent, there have been violent clashes with security forces.

Limor Goldstein, a lawyer who was born in Germany and who holds permanent residency in Israel, was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet that penetrated his brain. Goldstein, who speaks eight languages, says he is not a member of any of the protesting organizations.


"I have no problem cooperating with them and I admire their persistent action, but I don't belong to any political organization. I prefer to remain autonomous," he says now.

In his room at the Re'ut Medical Center in Tel Aviv, Goldstein talks about that day in Bil'in. He looks gaunt and pale. His head is shaven and the marks from the stitches are clearly visible above his right ear, where the bullet penetrated. In a soft voice, nearly a whisper, he says that he still suffers from intense headaches and from pain in his ears and at the place where the bullet struck.

"I have problems with balance. The bullet shattered my skull and entered my brain. The doctors removed it as well as the bone fragments that damaged the brain tissue. They also removed the parts of the brain tissue that were damaged. The part of my brain that was hurt is responsible for visual processing. I have damage to the optic nerve in the left eye and my right eye was also hurt. The long-term damage will be measured over time. In about two months, I'm supposed to have an operation where they'll implant plastic in the area where they removed the bone.

"I have memory damage. I don't remember the faces of the doctors who treated me, and I've lost details of the event itself. I have a problem with orientation and with my sense of time. It's hard for me to distinguish between dream and reality. I wake up in the morning and start crying. Sometimes I wake up feeling like I'm supposed to accomplish some task, because that's what I've dreamed, and then I can't do it and I panic. Sometimes I wake up terrified that I have missed a few antibiotic infusions and that my life is in danger. I usually wake up before dawn and it's not easy.

"I was in Tel Hashomer for about a week and then I was transferred here, but then the wound became infected and they were worried about meningitis. I was brought back to the operating room at Tel Hashomer and they did a revised procedure on the wound. They removed the patch that was supposed to protect the brain but had become infected, and now the area is open. One bullet penetrated the brain and there was another bullet that didn't penetrate, but grazed my neck.

"I'm not depressed, but I feel an ongoing helplessness and disorientation. I have nightmares in which I relive what happened and see the Border Police troops coming closer and firing at me, and the road I'm walking on is covered with thousands of bullet casings.

"I can't read. Everything gets mixed up and it's exhausting and gives me headaches. I can't watch television. I listen to music and friends read to me. Now they're reading to me 'Sons of Our Neighborhood' by Naguib Mahfouz. My friends and I are organizing a big demonstration in Tel Aviv against police violence and against political oppression. The meetings take place here on the balcony."

'You're in Lebanon'

"On Friday, August 11, we left our apartment in Neveh Tzedek, my two roommates and I, and drove in the car of Ilan Shalif, a psychologist, to the weekly demonstration in Bil'in. The demonstration usually starts out from the village after the prayer service, at around one in the afternoon.

"That day, over 50 demonstrators had come, including Israelis, leftist activists from the anarchists and human rights activists and others, alongside international activists from the International Solidarity Movement. They were joined by residents of Bil'in. It was another weekly protest against the construction of the separation fence, during which we march toward the route of the fence.
Sometimes new people join us and that Friday there were some who'd taken part in the Queeruption Festival, a gay and lesbian political festival in Tel Aviv." (At the last Queeruption, which took place last year in Barcelona, it was decided that the next, ninth celebration of the event would be held in Tel Aviv in August 2006, as part of the global struggle for freedom, justice and self-definition).

"Before the demonstration started, we explained to the guests from Queeruption that there aren't always confrontations with the army and that lately, because of the war, the demonstrations had been very brief, and we'd just approached the separation fence route and stopped. We told them about a recent demonstration in which we stood by the fence route for a minute of silence in memory of the victims in Lebanon, and then returned.

"On that day we set out from one of the houses in Bil'in and very soon saw that the army was trying to prevent the demonstration from leaving the village. For anyone who doesn't know, the main road in the village leads to the home of a woman named Zohra, and after that, there's a turn that leads to the fence route. We saw the army waiting in front of Zohra's house and the soldiers standing next to their jeeps, blocking the way and shooting. It's hard for me to say just how many protesters were with us. There was a column of marchers with spaces between them - spread out in a line - and the army couldn't have seen exactly how many people had come.

"When my friend Francesca [last name witheld on her request] and I were marching, the soldiers already started firing rubber bullets in all directions and tossing stun grenades. The army, like I said, was still inside the village, before the descent to where the fence route is. One of the first things I saw was a guy who was wounded. He sat on the ground and looked confused and terrified, which didn't stop the soldiers from continuing to toss more stun grenades in our direction. Francesca and I wanted to help the guy get up, to move him out of there. When we turned around with our back to the soldiers, we saw soldiers on the right, in the olive and fig orchards. On the left was a wall of stones and several demonstrators rushed to find cover there. We went over there while Border Police troops were approaching us with their weapons drawn and firing.

"Francesca and I got pretty close to the guy who was sitting on the ground, covering his ears with his hands, his leg bleeding from a rubber bullet. A stun grenade went off next to him, which made him disoriented. We pulled him to the side and Francesca escorted him to a house behind us, so he could rest there.

"The shooting continued, and the soldiers' commander, who can be seen on the video without a helmet and holding a megaphone, kept yelling while his soldiers, who were walking on either side of him, kept on shooting nonstop. He yelled: 'Get out of here! There won't be any demonstration today. Now you're in Lebanon.' The rubber bullets were flying all around and a lot of people got hit in the legs. Today I know that I wasn't the only one who was hit: 12 demonstrators were hit by rubber bullets and about 10 were beaten by Border Police officers. One of the demonstrators, a young woman from Denmark, suffered a skull fracture as a result of a Border Police officer hitting her on the head with a rifle butt.

"Several demonstrators called out to the soldiers to stop shooting, telling them there were Israeli civilians in this demonstration, but they ignored them and kept on. I was standing by the stone wall as the soldiers kept getting closer and the commander was shouting into the megaphone, 'Get out of here!' Meanwhile, Francesca returned. Cameraman Jonathan Massey, was facing the soldiers and walking backward. They beat him with batons and yelled at him to stop filming. He tried to jump back. Francesca and I turned around to head back and I saw that they were coming toward us. We ducked and then I saw that they were aiming at us. I felt a strong blow to the head and then to the neck and I collapsed. I immediately realized that I'd fallen in a bad way because I hit the stones and since there was a slope, my head somehow got caught in barbed wire that was there and my hair, which was long then, got tangled up in it."

'It was shocking'

Francesca: "Limor's head was lying on a rock beneath the barbed wire that hurt his face, and there was hardly any space between his face and the wires. I tried to lift the barbed wires, but I couldn't, because they were taut. Together with another woman, we managed to lift the wires and free Limor's head. I can say for certain that the shooting was aimed at Limor. They picked him. We were both already on the way back to the village and with our backs to the soldiers and they aimed at him, and they could have aimed at me, too."

Goldstein: "The pain was sharp and concentrated on the left side of my head. There was bleeding, but not like with Matan Cohen, who was shot in Beit Sira. I remembered the poster that was put up in Tel Aviv after Cohen was struck in the eye by a bullet. It showed him lying in a pool of blood. I remember that Francesca and others called for help and asked for an ambulance or an army medic."

Francesca: "The soldiers kept passing by us as if nothing was wrong. Limor was on the ground bleeding and the shooting was still going on. One of the international demonstrators, Jenny, a medic by profession, held Limor's head. We knew you had to do that with a head injury. Then [another friend] Michal came to help. We kept on shouting, 'Ambulance, ambulance, army medic! There's an Israeli wounded in the head' - and the soldiers who passed by there said, 'You call an ambulance. We'll call an ambulance to the war in Lebanon.' Finally, someone came who said he was an army medic."

Goldstein: "An army medic came up to me. I asked for a drink and got water poured on my head. He asked me to move my hands. I told him that I didn't feel good, that my head and neck hurt. My hands were stiff."

Francesca: "The medic asked Limor what his name was and then he asked, 'How do you feel?' And Limor said, 'Bad, I have pain in my head and neck.' 'Move your legs,' the medic said. Limor moved his legs a little and the medic turned around and left without saying a word. It was shocking."

Goldstein: "The pain kept getting worse and it was really hot. I was very scared, because this whole time that was I lying there, the soldiers kept on shooting and the explosions from the stun grenades were especially frightening. Francesca kept on calling for help and Michal, who had medical equipment, tried to come over to me, but was prevented from doing so. 'You shot an Israeli in the head,' Francesca yelled, and the soldiers answered, 'There's no ambulance.' I lay there writhing in pain and heard everything."

Francesca: "Stun grenades were still being thrown. We kept Limor in the shade, and he was quiet and pale, and only said that he was hot and in pain. His hands seemed frozen. The muscles stiffened in response to the shock. The whole time we held his head and moistened his lips. The cameraman Jonathan Massey called out to the soldiers, 'You shot someone,' and one of the soldiers gave him a bandage and left. We cleaned the wound on Limor's head and bandaged it. We believed that an ambulance was on the way."

Goldstein: "People came up and asked what happened. I replied that I'd been shot in the head. I never lost consciousness for a moment. For about an hour I lay on the ground and it felt like an eternity. I just wanted to get out of there and I couldn't understand why I wasn't being taken away and I felt angry at these crazy guys who shoot at people from short range for no reason."

New political awareness

"When I came out of the operating room, the doctors said that they weren't sure if I'd be able to see or to move my limbs," Goldstein continues. "Now it looks like I won't be able to renew my driver's license in Israel, with such a poor field of vision. The first thing my mother said, when she arrived in Israel from Germany and came right to the hospital, is that it's unbelievable that they could shoot at civilians like that for no reason.

"I was born in Bremen, in northern Germany, in 1978, and I have a sister who's two years older than me. My father, Sorin Goldstein, was born in Romania the same year, 1949, that my mother, Rivka, was born in Ukraine. Each of them came to Israel on his own in 1969. My mother, who came from a religious family, didn't serve in the army and earned a degree in biology from Bar-Ilan University. After my father got out of the army, they met in Tel Aviv. My father's brother lived and worked in Germany, and my father decided to try his luck there. Now he works in insurance for auto exporting and my mother runs a microbiology lab in Bremen.

"My parents didn't have a common language aside from Hebrew. I finished high school in Bremen and decided to return to Israel then. I earned a law degree from the Hebrew University in 2001. Then I went back to Europe. For about six months I traveled around Romania and tried to improve my Romanian. Afterward, I went back to Germany and lived in Berlin, which is where my political awareness blossomed and where I started to deal with immigration issues. My connection to Israel goes way back. Every year, since I was a little kid, we'd come to Israel for vacations and I have family here, so I had a close connection to the place and to the Hebrew language.

"I returned to Israel in 2004 and began my internship with attorney Smadar Ben-Natan. I thought of working for Kav La'oved [a nonprofit organization that promotes workers' rights], but it didn't work out. But I soon realized that immigrant rights in Israel were in a sorry state. Through my internship, I learned about and became familiar with the reality of the occupation.

"The Ben-Natan firm had several appeals against the fence and we had a few cases in the military courts, which are a shocking sight in themselves. The whole time I followed what was going on in Bil'in and other villages where there were demonstrations against the separation fence. In 2005 I finished my internship and started working in the office of attorney Dan Assan, who specializes in human rights, in legal damages for Palestinians from the first intifada, or prisoners who were tortured under interrogation."

Security forces respond

Francesca: "After a lot of time passed, some soldiers came with a stretcher and acted like they were doing us a favor. About five or six of us lifted him, including myself, Michal, Jenny and the soldiers, and then one of the soldiers, a reservist who was a bit older, said that he refused to evacuate Limor 'until everyone gets out of here.'

"We pleaded with him and finally he relented. We took Limor on the stretcher to the place where the military jeeps were. As we were walking, a reservist came up to me and pushed me aside, using his rifle to do it. I waited a little on the side and then I went back and joined the stretcher bearers. Jenny held Limor's head until we reached the pickup truck and then they would only let Michal stay with him. They told the rest of us to get lost."

Michal A., who is studying English literature at Tel Aviv University: "Next to the military pickup truck two soldiers came and helped to lift the stretcher into the vehicle, which was filled with riot shields. The two soldiers were supposed to hold the stretcher, because the vehicle was going up an incline. I held Limor's head. During the trip, more and more shields fell on Limor, who didn't say a word. I asked the soldiers to help me move the shields off him. I asked the driver to slow down. It was a nightmare. We finally reached the gate below and the soldiers took the stretcher off the vehicle and put it down on the ground in the sun.

"Two medics came. They looked and said that he didn't look so good, but they didn't even take the bandage off his head. One medic said that a civilian ambulance should be called and the other said, 'No, we'll call a military ambulance.' They went back and forth for another 20 minutes and meanwhile he's lying in the sun. Not saying anything. I wet his lips. I literally forced them to move him to the shade, and the whole time I was worried about his neck, which still wasn't immobilized.

"At last a military ambulance came, and it was packed with all kinds of stuff. The medic got out and said, 'What do we have here?' He took off the bandage and looked, and then he ordered the soldiers to empty the ambulance. 'But take your time,' he said. Finally we left. I sat with Limor in the back and two people sat up front and the ambulance bounced down a dirt road and I shouted for them to slow down because of his neck ... and they didn't seem to care at all. Finally we reached Kiryat Sefer in Upper Modi'in and a Magen David Adom ambulance was waiting there. They immobilized Limor's neck and we drove about another 300 meters where, before the Shilat junction, an ambulance with emergency equipment was waiting.

"We got to the hospital two hours after Limor was shot. He was calm and conscious and at the hospital he gave his name and his ID number, even though he was in terrible pain. Throughout this arduous trip, he only moaned and tried to touch his head. When we entered the emergency room, he vomited."

That day, the Israel Defense Forces spokesman said that the Border Police officers acted in response, after the demonstrators threw rocks at them. But the video clearly shows that the troops shot without any warning and without any rock-throwing or other aggressive or provocative behavior on the part of the protesters. The video shows a Border Police officer firing at Goldstein from very short range, about 15 meters, while Goldstein stood across the road.

In fact, today, Border Police spokesman Avi Moshe does not wish to repeat the claim of the IDF spokesman, and prefers to begin his response with a description of other incidents in Bil'in: "First, let's point out that for weeks demonstrators have been coming to the separation fence in the vicinity of the village of Bil'in, causing provocations and disturbing the peace by throwing rocks and various objects at the Border Police and IDF forces in that location. In most of the events, a number of Border Police officers were injured, and some were even sent to the hospital. Let's also point out that in one case, when those demonstrators requested to speak with a Border Police officer there, and the officer agreed and came to talk with them, as soon as the officer turned around to head back toward the forces that were standing on the other side, the demonstrators suddenly started to hurl rocks at him and they wounded him in the head."

Only after this lengthy introduction does the Border Police spokesman offer this laconic response to the shooting of Goldstein: "As for this specific incident, it is under investigation in the Judea and Samaria District and when conclusions are reached, we will act accordingly."

Asked about the name of the policeman who shot attorney Goldstein, Moshe says: "I won't give you his name. As I said, when the investigation is complete, we will act in accordance with whatever is deemed necessary."

Goldstein, meanwhile, has this to say: "My personal story isn't the important element in this story. Not the fact that I was born in Germany or who my parents are. What matters is the message of what's happening in Bil'in and in the villages along the fence route. People are being shot. Lands are being appropriated. As soon as I get well I'll go back to Bil'in to demonstrate."

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, the joint struggle still continur and kicking 06 Oct 2006

This Friday we kept the tradition of joint struggle against the separation fence and occupation demonstration in spite of the Ramadan fasting and hot whether. About 50 people - Palestinians, internationals and a dozen Israelis from the anarchist against the wall initiative. We marched at noon from the center of the village to the gate to the route of the separation fence - chanting the usual rimes. When we arrived at the blocked gate to the route we found that the state forces kept a narrow opening to enable - or better to lure us into a controlled physical confrontation. Few people tried to pass through the opening and two of them were roughly detained - to be released later. After the usual (mostly verbal) confrontation with the state force gendarmes, just before ending the demonstration, the unruly youngsters started to throw stones at the gate keepers, which was surely in order to provoke them to harass the participants of the nonviolent demonstrators.

(This is one of the expressions of the prolonged conflict in the village between the supporters of the nonviolent joint struggle with the Israelis and the opponents find is the stone throwing on the Israeli state forces confronting the Friday nonviolent demonstrators. This usually give the state forces an excuse to attack the nonviolent demonstrators. It was a big surprise to day that they did not do so - they just restricting themselves to the confrontation with the stone throwers.

To evade the state force harassment we left the area near the gate and started to walk back to the village along the fence (instead of the road which was turned a war zone between the state force shooting rubber coated bullets and tear gas grenades and the stones throwing youngsters). However, this Friday the state forces tried again to force us to pass through the war zone by blocking our way with tear gas canisters... So we returned to the gate but this time we went back to the village the other way through the near by olive grove and evaded both the state force and the stone throwers.

See also:

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Palestuine-Israel, the joint struggle against the occupation and the separation fence continue. 02 Sep 2006

This week the joint struggle of the Bil'in popular comity and the Anarchists Against The Wall was not restricted to the Friday Demonstration. At the beginning of the week a meeting of the main activists of both Bil'in and the AATW discussed the special conditions of the joint struggle following the Lebanon war and the efforts of some reactionaries of the village to put end to it. It continued in the middle of the week when a joint vigil was presenting the joint struggle in Bil'in in Ramalla Mukat'ah when UN secretary Cofi Anan was visiting there. The Israeli secret services decided to teach the AATW activists a lesson and intimidate them. However, due to splitting before returning home, only two underage activists were caught and were subjected to 24 hours of interrogations before releasing without conditions.

The joint struggle reached its peak Friday - as usual, with the joint struggle against the separation fence and occupation. Like the previous Fridays the demo started at noon with a march from the center of the village on the road toward route of the separation fence. Like the previous Fridays of September, the Israeli state forces objected to the demonstration. When the march of Palestinians, internationals, and Israeli left the built are of the village - on the road to the route of the fence, they met the water cannon that started to disperse them. Whoever, after few minutes, the state forces changed to the usual routine of shooting and grenades - probably for testing the new bean gag riffles Israel bought lately from US. Few of the demonstrators were injured. One of them was observed as limping at the Saturday evening screening of the documentary about the Bil'in struggle at the Tel Aviv cinematec.