1) Thursday - Blocking the 443 Apartheid road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem*. 2) Friday - the 141st Friday demonstration in Bil'in.
1) An anti-apartheid protest today blocked busy Highway 443, one of many highways that run on occupied Palestinian land but are reserved for Israelis only. Israeli Security forces used force to move the demonstrators. Three of the protesters, two Israeli and one American, were arrested and are being held in an Israeli police post. Blake Murphy, from Boston, is currently being threatened with deportation. [They were released with 30 days restriction from coming to the region and from similar activities.]
The protesters** blocked the highway for over fifteen minutes by organizing a mass sit down in the road backed by six protesters chained into a four meter pipe. Rush hour traffic was backed up for miles before the protesters were removed by force. They distributing a message to the drivers on the highway: We know what it feels like to be blocked. We experience it daily.
The masses of Israelis who regularly travel to Jerusalem via the settlement of Modi'in were surprised this morning to find the highway blocked by non-violent protesters. Despite obvious road blocks at the junctions with roads from the Palestinian villages along the highway, few are aware that for seven years now, Highway 443 has been accessible to Israelis only. Palestinians are forbidden to travel on the highway, even on the 9.5 kilometer-long segment which passes through occupied West Bank territory and is built on land that has been confiscated from Palestinians whose olive trees have been cut down “for the benefit of the local population. [See comment from Israel's newspaper Haaretz, “The Law as Roadkill The Israeli military claims that the prohibition of Palestinian traffic on the main road is temporary and subject to security considerations. But their actions on the ground suggest otherwise. In order to “compensate the communities, the military has confiscated more land for the creation of what they term “fabric of life roads at an estimated cost of 177.9 million shekels (approximately US$44.5 million). These roads will funnel Palestinian traffic under the Israeli road network via tunnels and underpasses connecting communities in nearby enclaves, thus putting the Palestinians out of sight and out of mind for Israelis.
The Israeli Human rights group B'tselem states that the prohibition on Palestinian use of Highway 443 appears to be based on Israel's desire to annex the area along which the road runs. B'tselem explains that if Israel was only interested in protecting the lives of Israelis, rather than annexing the area, it could limit or even prohibit the travel of Israelis on the road cutting through the West Bank and build roads inside Israeli territory, thus providing safe channels of transportation to connect Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The policy of prohibiting movement on this road is not an isolated case but is part of a general widespread policy [see map]. On 312 kilometers of main roads in the West Bank, vehicles bearing Palestinian license plates are forbidden or restricted access. The creation of a regime of forbidden roads has converted the right to freedom of movement in the West Bank into a privilege that is dependent upon the national origin of an individual. [see International Convention on Apartheid] These roads, in addition to the segregation wall, carve up Palestinian areas into isolated enclaves. This fragmentation is at the root of the West Bank's declining economy.
In an appeal, The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI ) states that the term “Crime of Apartheid, applies to acts that are used as a means for establishing and maintaining domination of one racial group of persons over any other racial group and systematically oppressing them. ACRI states that an accepted systematic policy of discrimination against the Palestinian population constitutes a practice of apartheid as defined by the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. Separation exists between Palestinians and Israelis in the West Bank in many other aspects of life, as with the two separate legal systems that exist for the two populations.
Mohammed Khatib, spokesperson for the Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Movement said: Israel wants to legitimize apartheid and call it peace. This is the first in a series of popular non-violent protests against the Israeli system of apartheid. anti-apartheid activists block highway 443 Thursday morning, protesting the Israeli-only road which traverses occupied Palestinian land. A major highway, it is inaccessible to Palestinians. anti-apartheid activists block highway 443 Thursday morning, protesting the Israeli-only road which traverses occupied Palestinian land. A major highway, it is inaccessible to Palestinians.anti-apartheid activists block highway 443 Thursday morning, protesting the Israeli-only road which traverses occupied Palestinian land. A major highway, it is inaccessible to Palestinians.anti-apartheid activists block highway 443 Thursday morning, protesting the Israeli-only road which traverses occupied Palestinian land. A major highway, it is inaccessible to Palestinians.
Photos available at: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/10/25/blocking-the-road-to-apartheid-palestinian-nonviolent-protestors-are-blocking-highway-443/ https://israel.indymedia.org/newswire/display/7712/index.php
-------------- Bil'in ----------
As usual, Israelis of the anarchists against the wall initiative arrived at Bil'in a little before noon - traveling from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. At noon, we joined the demonstration that started as usual with a march towards the route of the separation fence. As usual the road leading to the gate was blocked with a spool of barbed wire and the commander of the Israeli state force declared the area west of the spool a closed military zone warning with retaliation if any one will cross the line. As usual, after a while when we stayed there two participants defied the order and as retaliation a heavy barrage of tear gas grenades were showered on us.
After few regrouping and defying the tear gas a kind of truce was arrived and we were allowed to regroup at the road near the barbed wire, while units of the state force were engaging with shooting and tear gas youngsters who were throwing stones on them.
After about hour from its beginning, the end of the nonviolent demonstration was declared and the state force gave us a "far well" shower of teat gas to hasten our walking to the village.
Defying it, we lingered for additional hour in the "war zone" of the stone throwing and shooting... and two internationals were injured by bullets coated with rubber.
* Submitted by member of the Bil'in village popular comity
** Participants were Palestinians from Bil'in and the region, Internationals, and Israelis of the anarchists against the wall initiative.