Saturday, February 24, 2007

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, celebration of two years of Friday demonstrations against the fence and the occupation. 24 Feb 2007

In a way, it was the best demonstration for a long long time. There were many more participants in addition to the regulars: Palestinians from Bil'in and from the near by region, ISM internationals, and anarchists against the wall initiative. There were around 100 Palestinians from south Bethlehem (Al Hader, and Um Salamunah),and were more than a 100 of the extended Israeli coalition for the struggle against the fence. And of course media teams - including Israel first TV chanel, and Al Jazira who broadcasted live from the demonstration. For the guest, the walls of the road at the center of village were covered with pictures from demonstrations and other direct actions against the separation fence in Bil'in. Along the road were also the main creative art constructs and devices carried at the heads of demonstrations along the years.

We marched as usual at noon from center of the village on the road leading to the route of the separation fence. As usual, along the way people chanted and on occasion started a circle dance.

At the end of the march we arrived at the blocked gate to the route of the separation fence - an electronic fence, with two roads on its sides, two fences on the sides of the roads, and spools of razor wire and a tunnel on the Bil'in side of the route. There started the low intensity confrontation with the Israeli state force - mainly verbal. One of the participants gave a speech, and long after it the stone throwers - who do not accept nor respect the nonviolent mode of the village popular comity which is organizing the Friday demonstrations started to throw stones towards the the Israeli soldiers. These started as usual to throw and shoot shock grenades and tear gas canister and even shooting rubber coated bullets.

Anticipating this harassment a contingent of activists went along the route of the separation fence - pulling the spool of wire and drawing some of the state force away from the main body of the demonstration. by pooling the spools the state force found itself obliged to send soldiers who responded with shock and tear gas grenades. We could see from a bit far away point how the state force try to drive away both the stone throwers and the nonviolent demonstrators. They succeeded to drive away the stone throwers and the less experienced demonstrators, but as usual they failed to drive away the more experienced and the more daring ones. In spite of a water canon and other means, some demonstrators even entered for a while the route of the fence before being driven away.

Then, the intensity of the confrontation decreased, while hundreds of demonstrations took it easy in the sunny spring day with good company near the gate to the route while over confronted the state forces verbally.

After an hour of intense confrontation and an hour of taking it easy we started to return to the village. The state force were not too happy to see us returning to the village peacefully and shoot tear gas canisters just for their fun. We were taking rest on the way, looking at the confrontation at the olive trees groove on the side of the road between state force and stone throwing youngsters and kids. The state force were not too happy with our looking at this happening and showered us with tear gas forcing us to return faster to the village.

On our way home, we stop at the neighboring village - to let another car pass, a young person blessed us about our demonstration - said he seen it in Al Jazira TV and promised to join us next Friday demo in Bil'in.

At the main weekend TV reportage program of chanel 1, they gave a nice reportage on the demonstration. They reported about 16 people injured and two arrested Israelis.

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