Friday, March 14, 2008

Palestine-Israel, another Friday of joint struggle in Bil'in

It seemed to be a quite Friday demonstration of the people of Bil'in with internationals and Israeli anarchists against the wall, against the separation fence and occupation. We marched with the usual chanting and sporadic dancing towards the route of the fence. When we arrived at the blocked gate to the rote of the fence - the electronic fence run in its middle, we started to march along the route - away from the point the soldiers were staying at (on the other side of the route of the fence. After marching for a while we were out of the sight of the soldiers (but not out of the that of the intelligence camera). There we crossed the spools of the barbed wire stretched along the fence of the route and continue marching along the fence. After a while, we arrived at the spot the fence was torn in previous Friday, a flag was hanged on the fence and we confronted verbally few of the state force who came to confront us.

When they got a reinforcement, one of them threw on us a tear gas grenade which was a sign for the stone throwing youth to start their action. This was answered with full assault of the state force on both the youth and on the nonviolent demonstration - tear gas and bullets rubbed with rubber.

As a result, few of the nonviolent demonstrators got gassed and the head of an international activist was injured. Many of us left the arena the stone throwers were confronting the soldiers and returned to the gate of in the route of the fence... but the stone throwers followed us and start again throwing stones behind our backs - giving the state force excuse to attach us again.

They even crossed the route to our side and hijacked an international activist. While doing it, they pepper sprayed his face and the face of another comrade and shoot two Israeli activists from an illegal short distance with bullets rubbed with rubber. The comrades were taken wit ambulance to Israeli hospital there they were treated and the bullet was taken out of the comrade foot.

See a video clip of the demonstration by Emad Bornat

Following is a media article in the Haaretz daily website:

Two Israelis wounded in clashes with IDF at anti-fence protest
By Meron Rappaport, Haaretz Correspondent

Two Israeli protestors were wounded Friday in clashes with Israel Defense Forces troops during a weekly protest against the construction of the West Bank separation fence near the Palestinian village of Bil'in.

The protesters accused IDF troops of firing rubber bullets directly at them from short range, without any provocation. Some 100 Israeli and Palestinian demonstrators participated in the protest.

"We were standing in a group of about 10 Israelis next to the fence," said one protester. "The soldiers were standing roughly 10 meters from us. They saw Us and it was clear that we weren't throwing stones or anything. Suddenly I felt a blow to my arm. I was relatively lightly hurt. The guy next to me was more seriously wounded because the bullet penetrated his thigh."

The protester did not see who fired the shots, although other protesters said they saw an IDF soldier aim his weapon directly at the group and fire, adding that he was filmed doing so.

According to IDF rules of engagement, rubber bullets are not to be fired directly at protesters from a distance of less than 60 meters, since they can cause serious injury or even death.

The IDF said in response that "some 70 protestors gathered next to the fence, attempting to damage the fence and throw stones at the security forces. The troops were forced to respond with riot dispersal methods. The methods were employed in accordance with [IDF] orders and the allowed distances, and were directed only at those who were rioting."

Related articles:
# Court orders state to alter West Bank separation fence route at Bil'in
# 2 IDF officers, 16 demonstrators hurt in Bil'in anti-fence protest
# 3 Palestinians, 2 border police officers hurt in Bil'in protest

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