Tel Aviv - Critical mass, Jafa, Kfar Shalem; Bil'in; 443 apartheid highway; Um Salmuna... This week in Tel Aviv, we participated in the on going joint struggle of inhabitants of Jafa and Kfar Shalem against the Tel Aviv municipality gentrification and eviction. Video of critical mass against the occupation Tel Aviv 27-12-2007 (Thursday previous week) youtube.com/watch?v=90SFUXQPqEI by Israel Puterman; Video of Bil'in 28/12/2007 youtube.com/watch?v=0EM0wvkLBso by Emad bornat ---- On Sunday we participated in the joint demonstration of about 300 participants - Palestinians of Jafa, Israeli Jews from Kfar Shalem, and sympathizers in front of the apartment house the Tel Aviv mayor reside in. During the week AAtW were present in vigils at houses to be demolished in the two locations.
By Eyad Bornat: Tuesday - Two Badly Injured as Bilâ€™in Residents Attempt to Thwart Settler Land Grab --- On January 1st, Mohammed Khatib and Abdullah Abu Rahme of the Bilâ€™in popular committee were badly beaten by settlers [of Modi'in Ilit town - I.S.] whilst attempting to stop the positioning of a settlement outpost on village land. They are currently receiving treatment in Sheik Zaid hospital, both are in a stable condition. Cameraman Emad Bornat was beaten also but escaped with footage of the attack after settlers destroyed his camera. Settlers arrived around 7pm attempting and placed a caravan on the ground, creating an outpost to the illegal settlement of Modiâ€™in Illit. The aim of the outpost seems to be to stop the army moving the apartheid wall further East to give Bilâ€™in some of its land back, as per the Supreme Court decision awarded in September. The settlers are calling the caravan a synagogue in an attempt to make it harder to remove by the Israeli military, a common practice in the West Bank.
The settlers were attempting to place a second caravan when Mohammed and Abdullah, together with Emad Bornat, quickly arrived on the scene and sat down under the caravan, preventing the settlers from securing the structure. Many other Bilâ€™in residents arrived soon afterwards but were prevented from accessing the site by soldiers at the gate through the apartheid wall, which runs directly through Bilâ€™ins land.
Armed settlers approached the group and were overheard saying â€œlets break his headâ€ in Hebrew by an Israeli talking on the phone to Mohammed before the attack. The settlers then proceeded to attack the group, breaking Emadâ€™s camera, who then left to protect the film inside. Over an hour after they were called, the police arrived and broke up the assault, but did not force the settlers to remove the structures, which were secured down after Mohammed and Abdullah were badly beaten. An Israeli activist arriving on the scene directly called for an Israeli ambulance, but the ambulance were not allowed to take them to an Israeli hospital, instead they had to wait at the Nahalin checkpoint for a Palestinian ambulance to arrive to finally take them to hospital.
According to official sources, two Palestinians and two settlers were arrested. In fact, no one was arrested, but the police offered to â€˜look into doing soâ€™ if the victims wish to press charges. Police also said the structures would be removed in the morning.
International Human Rights activists were in Bilâ€™in soon after this happened and Israeli activists were present in the settlement afterwards as well. Settlers cut the tires to the car of one group of Israeli activists.
For more information: The Bilin Friends of freedom and Justice society
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www. Ffj-bilin.org email@example.com
Video by Emad Bornats http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wmAOw1uCyk
The Friday demonstration - the 151 since 22d February 2005 was as usual the last few months. We marched from the center of the village towards the gate of the separation fence under a drifting sky. We had a short presence at the foot of the hill the gate is on it - as the Israeli state force forbid the approach towards the gate. After a while they showered us with tear gas, as the commander of the state force claimed we were not complying to his whims. A prolonged confrontation following this between stone throwers and the state forces.
This week no one was detained or seriously wounded. The heavy rain started at the end of the confrontation and made the riding home a challenge.
The Friday demonstration at the 443 apartheid highway
First, an excerpt of the invitation for participation:
"Road 443 is one of the main throughways of the West Bank *. Its overall length is 25.5 KM, 14 out of which run through the heart of the West Bank, with two additional ones in the No-Man's Land. From the year 2000 on Israel started restricting Palestinian movement on the road, with the restrictions turning into complete prohibition of Palestinian movement in 2002, practically making the road into a Jewish-only one."
[The villages roads connected to the 443 highway were blocked by big concrete blocks and gravel mounds. When policemen and soldiers caught cars with Palestinian drivers they often confiscate the car keys and/or the driver licenses.
443 is one of the most prominent and upsetting apartheid roads in the West Bank. *Approximately 40,000 Israeli citizens travel on it on a daily basis*. The majority of them are not settlers but merely commuters traveling from Tel Aviv and Modi'in to Jerusalem on a better, shorter road, with less traffic. It is safe to assume that the vast majority of them are unaware to the fact that they are traveling through the Occupied Territories, and in a road Palestinians are allowed on. In many parts the road is surrounded by a wall, decorated by picturesque murals, blocking the Palestinian villages victimized by the road even from sight.
Road 443 is, needless to say, not the only apartheid road in the West Bank. *312 Kilometers of West Bank roads are nowadays forbidden for Palestinian use*. The system of apartheid roads (which also include an inferior, separate road system for Palestinian use) - together with the checkpoints and roadblocks, the wall, the siege and curfews, separate Palestinians from their lands, their workplaces, universities and each other - creating an intolerable reality lacking any real freedom of movement. The system of separation divides the West Bank into fragmented enclaves, practically destroying Palestinian economy, sovereignty and any option for a normal life.
Invitation is signed by:
The Palestinian Popular mobilization against apartheid; The national committees against the wall and settlements; The councils of the villages Beit Sira, Safa, Beit Likya, Kharbata AlMasbach, Beit Ur El Tachta and Beit Ur el Foka; The [Israeli] Coalition against the Wall & the Occupation: Gush Shalom, Coalition of
Women for just peace, Ta'ayush, Alternative Information Center, Yesh Gvul, ICAHD, Students Coalition - Tel-Aviv University, Anarchists against walls.
About 150 Israelis started their way to the demonstration before noon from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other parts of the country - less than half succeeded to arrive to the site of the demonstration.
Israeli police succeeded to block the arrival of about half of Israelis in various road blocks.
At the meeting point in Tel Aviv, two cars of police and intelligence were present from the beginning of the convergence. They followed the bus most of the demonstrators were on, and at the Rantis road block in the occupied territories they blocked its way together with the grandams present there, without even bothering to showing any document authorizing them to do it. (The document was shown to other comrades when their car was blocked on another road block.)
The demonstrators got down from the bus and demonstrated near the road block. During this demonstration the traffic on the road continued, but the gendarmes pushed and hit demonstrators and even detained three of them for hours - releasing them after interrogation.
The joint demonstration of the Palestinian villagers and the Israeli participants did took place, and was subject to vicious violence of the Israeli state forces. The army attacked the protest with sound bombs, tear gas and rubber coated bullets and injured seven people - two were taken to the hospital.
At the Bethlehem region, 200 Palestinians, internationals and Israelis of the AAtW initiative, marched against the illegal wall being built on land stolen illegally by the Israeli army from the villagers of Um Salamunah, located near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem.
The protesters marched from the village towards the nearby settlers' road known as Road 60 that cuts the village of Um Salamunah off from its land. A year ago Israel started to build the separation fence on village land.
The protest marked the one year anniversary of nonviolent resistance to the separation fence in that village. Local villagers held Friday prayers on the settlers' road then speeches were delivered. Israeli troops arrived in the area but did not attack protesters. The action finished shortly thereafter.
Link to a media detailed article on the 443: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article3300992.ece