Saturday, September 1, 2007

Palestine-Israel, The joint struggle in Bil'in, Wadi Nis and Wallage (south Bethlehem), and Sarra (south Nablus) 01 Sep 2007

In Bil'in - the most persistent location of struggle against the occupation and the separation fence, it was the 134th Friday demonstration. As usual, it consisted of Palestinians from the village and the region, Israelis of the anarchists against the wall initiative, and internationals. As usual, after the noon march from the village towards the route of the separation fence we arrived at the foot of the hill the gate to the other half of the village lands is located on. As usual the commander of the state force declared from a distance that the barbed wire spool crossing the road at the foot of the hill mark the forbidden military zone - threatening with punishment who ever cross it. As usual, after converging there we started to cross the line. But, as it happened in the past with the shock grenades, we learned to evade the tear gas ones and after a short confrontation many of us crossed the forbidden line and were too near to the state force for them to use tear gas on us.

After they detained two Israelis and one international activists they took their time. For a while we had there a verbal conflict only, and later the state force started to push us physically back - adding batons work that injured me and two other comrades of the village activists. The refusal of the comrades to yield to the pressure of the state force till the injured ones will be taken care of made the state force stop their offensive. After we were treated by the medics team of the ambulance, we returned to the village - leaving the space to the usual confrontation between the state force and the stones throwing kids.

The comrades detained were taken to the regional police station and were released 5 hours later with two weeks restriction from participation in the Friday demonstrations at the separation fence of Bil'in.

Links to video clips from previous Friday demonstration:

Link to video clip from this Friday demonstration:

===== Sarra =====

The second joint struggle Friday demonstration was at the village Sarra in the region south of Nablus. Following is a text describing the situation there and a call for this Friday demonstration:

"On the 25th August, Israeli Occupation Forces entered the village of Sarra to close a roadblock that had been previously opened. The Monday before, (20th August) international activists joined Palestinian villagers in removing a road block that turned a 5 minute journey to Nablus into half an hour. There was to be another demonstration the Friday after, but it was canceled because the local mayor said the DCO had told him they would open the roadblock permanently on Saturday.

The activists that were ready to join the demonstration were dubious over the generosity of the military and saw it as a potential tactic to avert the demonstration, and it turned out it was. The soldiers came on Saturday, forcing a Palestinian villager to use his tractor to close the roadblock. After the soldiers left, the man re-opened the roadblock. Then the soldiers came again, however this time at night. From one in the morning to 2:30am they entered homes and interrogated the inhabitants, occupied houses and kicked out the families inside, confiscated knives and CDs from houses, pushed people around and shot live ammunition into the doorways of shops and homes, as well as into the water tanks above the homes.

International Human Rights Workers went the day after to take pictures of the damage and speak to the people living there. The people spoken to were convinced that trusting the Israelis was no longer an option. They had shown their goodwill by canceling a demonstration at the suggestion the roadblocks would be opened and had been penalized for their good faith. They Israelis had shown that they were interested in only one thing, the continued harassment of Palestinians in the open air prisons their towns are becoming.

Many people now are ready to demonstrate non-violently this Friday, August 31, at 1:00pm, after the prayer. They are calling on all people who are interested in joining their struggle against injustice to join them on this day. People are talking about bringing signs and Palestinian flags, and as we are organizing people from all around the area we are limited only by our creativity."

The Israeli anarchists against the wall initiative was invited weeks ago to join the struggle at Sarra as partners. A contingent of our comrades participated there in this Friday demonstration.

It was a big demonstration with few hundred participants. The peak of the demonstration was the removal again of the blocks of the road blocks. The state forces used a "small dose" of tear gas and detained three Israeli activists who were taken to Ariel police station and released at the late evening.

======= South of Bethlehem 31.8.07 =====

A comrade reported:
"We started the day in Wadi Nis - about 40 internationals, 30 Palestinians and 5 Israelis of the AATW. in the opening speech of the demonstration it was said that it marks the sixth yearly commemoration of Mustafa Abu-Ali by Israel, and as the occasion fit give respect to the memory of all the other Palestinian martyrs murdered in the extermination actions of Israel.

We marched from the village towards the road marking the route of the separation fence, on its sides week after week other components of the advancing fence appear.

The Israeli state force positioned near by did not approach us and we crossed the route where the fence will be built along it, to the confiscated Palestinian lands on the North-West side of it. We passed between grapes carrying vines and the peasants invited us to eat from them.

After a short time border police and army approached us and blocked our way. The villagers explained that we are going to peace of land located near the settler colony Efrat, the Israeli court recognized the ownership of it by one of them. The army and police insisted that we cannot pass there as the area is declared a closed military zone and the demonstration must disperse during the following minutes. (During the short confrontation settlers from the Efrat colony congregated behind the soldiers.)

We responded to the demand by siting down and continued eating grapes. After an exchange of give and take, the organizers decided that the demonstration already delivered the message, and agreed that we return to the village following statement of the state force that the owner of the land will be allowed to go by himself to check the condition of the land near the settlement.

When we returned to the village we heard that a demonstration in the near by Wallage is about to start.... so many of the participants - Palestinians, Internationals, and Israelis took cars and try to go there but only part of us arrived as the others were blocked in the roadblocks.

The demonstration in Wallage started by prayer on the main road of the village. During the prayer, a team of border police entered the village and confiscated tires they found under a tree. After the prayer we marched - few dozens of the village people with Israelis, internationals and Palestinians from the other demonstration - up the hill on which were parked machines used for building the fence. The state force which previously intervened in Wadi Nis stopped us on our way declaring again that the area is a closed military zone. Here again the villagers informed the state force that an Israeli court recognized the ownership of the land by a local Palestinian. We also set down on the ground holding hands in preparation for non violent resistance and chanting slogans against the separation fence and the occupation.

The army drove away the media workers (mainly photographers) in preparation for a violent eviction. At that stage there started a dispute among the municipality comity members about the continuation of the demonstration, and at the end it was decided to refrain from confrontation with the state force and to yield to their demand to return to the village".

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