Friday, March 16, 2007

Palestine-Israel, The 110th Friday demo in Bil'in and still surprises occur... 16 Mar 2007

It was in those in-between-winter-and-spring cool and cloudy days threatening to rain but do not do it. As usual, we started at noon the Friday march from the center of the village towards the route of the separation fence - robing more than half the lands of the village, for expanding a settler colonialist town already built on lands robed from Bil'in and neighboring villages. We were as usual Palestinians from the village (mainly) and from the region; internationals; Israelis from the anarchists against the wall initiative (and others); and some media workers of wide spectrum. As usual, we seen on the way to the fence (about a kilometer from the built area of the village) the border gendarmes dispersed among the houses at the outskirts of the village, biting the village kids that prefer to confront them there instead of joining the non violent demo marching towards the route of the fence.

Chanting and singing... carrying flags and placards we approached the route of the separation fence. There a surprise was waiting to us. A tactic of the Israeli state forces that was stopped months ago, to diminish the friction with us, was renewed. (It seems a previous commander of the region who returned after being replaced by others, feel the urge for revenge after he failed to back his announced claim that the Friday demonstrations in Bil'in will be put end to by him.) Instead of standing behind the gate to the route of the fence, they stretched a spool of razor wire across the road and its two sides - 10 meters from the gate to the separation fence and across it to the village lands west of it. A line of armed soldiers tried hard to "protect" the ten meters strip from our "invasion".

The confrontation there was immanent as we could not allow the advance occupying - even if only 10 meters. The state force made it a question of honer to protect this temporary occupied strip... but they were restricted by strict orders not to injure too hard the "holy Jews" (and thus all the others in the demo too) that even when confronting the state must be treated as the tradition demand. (About three years ago, Israeli soldier shoot on command and injured a demonstrator of the anarchists against the wall in the leg with live ammunition.... and the chief commander of the army yielded to public scandal and visited the injured person in hospital to apologize.)

The strict restriction of use of force when Jews are involved is the only reason that after 110 Friday demonstrations in Bil'in and other direct actions there, still no Israeli and no Palestinian was killed there yet. Though many were injured by rubber coated bullets and tear gas grenades shoot at them. Few, including Israelis suffered irreversible damage after being shoot at their heads.

And so, after 10 minutes of physical confrontation we forced our way through the ten meters strip, with sporadic clashes initiated by some of the state force people. During about 40 minutes of confrontation two Palestinians and two Israelis were detained, and few were moderately injured. Often, when a soldier became overly aggressive, the warning "you are being videotaped/photographed" calmed him a bit.

In spite of the use soldiers did with shock grenades, the youth who do not adhere to the non violent mode of struggle, they refrained from stone throwing till a member of the village popular comity declared the end of the demonstration. As usual, the soldiers used this opportunity to attack and try to drive away fast the nonviolent demonstration - that we could not allow them, so we continued the demonstration - ridiculing the soldiers and their commanders that they only succeeded to conquer back the ten meter strip near the gate.

After a while, we decided to return to the village, and on our way, the soldiers vented their revenge by shooting at us some tear gas canisters (who were not really effective due to the direction of the wind.

When we arrived at the fringe of the built are of the village we had to do evading movements as we passed in the region where the border gendarmes were confronting with tear gas and rubber coated bullets the stone throwers.

After an hour of taking our time in the center of the village - waiting for the release of of the 4 detained and socializing with the village activists, we traveled back to the near by Israel.

After humiliating treatment and threats, one of the Israelis and the two Palestinians were release. The other Israeli comrade was taken to a near by police station to appear tomorrow evening before a magistrate - after two soldiers gave a false testimony blaming him for attacking them.

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