Saturday, March 22, 2008

Palestine-Israel, Fourth year of Friday demonstrations in the joint struggle in Bil'in against the separation fence and occupation

It seems the Israeli state is accepting its defeat in its efforts to put end to the Friday demonstrations in Bil'in. This week we had witnessed again the continuance of the gradual de-escalation of the suppression of the Friday activity in Bil'in. We arrived in Bil'in from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, telling on the way to new comers about the long confrontations in the first years when the state forces tried to block the Israelis way to Bil'in - pointing on critical points on the way where activists of the anarchists against the wall initiative out smart them and succeeded to penetrate to Bil'in. On the way, the state force guarding the road blocks do not bother to even look at us. On the demonstration itself, the state force threatened us as usual, but they were not making too much efforts to back that by action.

When we approached the gate of the route of the separation fence we heard the usual threats about the military closed zone. When we decided to march along the northern section of the route of the separation fence - usually in the past retaliated by barge of tear gas and even shooting, we got only threats and only one warning shot.

Afterwards we returned to the open area near the gate to the route of the separation fence and the state force that even before that kept to the other side of the fence regrouped to the other side of the route.

After the demonstration was nearing its end, the stone throwers started their action and the nonviolent demonstrators started to return to the village... But even in that stage the state force kept to the de-escalation: They used only few tear gas grenades. They were shooting from far away not trying to pursue the stone throwers kept their force on the other side of the route...

As if they are not really interested any more in the stone throwing. As if, they did not ever made their best efforts to initiate the stone throwing. (At the first months the state forces needed to send under cover provocateurs to throw stones and to incite village youngsters to do that.) Along the years, till few months ago they used to send teams of soldiers and border gendarmes to the fringe of the built area of the village to incite stone throwing. Last few months when they stopped this schedule, they still sent teams to pursue the stone throwers, to shoot them and injured in the process the retreating nonviolent demonstrators.

This Friday they did some shootings of tear gas grenades and bullets rubbed with rubber but the injuring of one of the team of medics who come regularly with the ambulance seems not by intention.

(This Friday I nearly missed the smelling of the tear gas I am nearly addicted to after 150 demonstrations.)

The joking about a future Friday demonstration the Israeli state force will fail to attend too... start to ring with true probability.

------ At the south of Bethlehem region ------

The struggle against the separation fence in the south is not collecting momentum. The hope for intense joint struggle with the villagers of the region is not matching the Bil'in tradition. Though activists from the south came to Bil'in for solidarity and for learning, and have good ties with the Israeli anarchists against the fence, in none of the villages there is a weekly demonstration with large presence of local people.

In El Hader, last few times they held if at all only a demonstration prayer, but not a march or direct action. In Um Salmuna, there was a small demonstration with participation of a very small contingent of the anarchists against the wall.

Ilan S.

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