All along the week, activists were involved with the wave of the refugees from Africa and the new wave of repression of them; Thursday evening was the last of February - the critical mass against occupation and the atrocities in Gaza strip. Friday was the busiest; In the morning - together with others, activists participated in the joined weekly vigil at the occupied Silwan district (Jerusalem); Towards noon activists participated in the demonstrations against the separation fence at Um Salmuna and Al Khader (south of Bethlehem) and of course in the 158th Friday demonstration against the separation fence and occupation at Bil'in; Saturday noon activists traveled again to Beit Umar (south of Bethlehem) to protest the mounting repression of the community which is struggling both against the new expansion of the near by settler colonialist Karmey Tsur; Saturday afternoon and evening, we had an "organizational meeting" as dissatisfaction with the present level was expressed by participating in our last "non regular" meetings of activists in Tel Aviv.
Like in previous months, the initiative for the evening of the last Thursday of the month took place. At the beginning of the monthly initiative, the police tolerated our action in spite some obstruction to the traffic. Last three times the police harassed us and even arrested few participants. This Thursday the police tried to disrupt again the critical mass but even after arresting 6 participants the riding continued. When the six were brought to court the next morning, the police got a surprising disappointment. The judge dismissed the case condemned the police for false arrest. It seems the democracy for the Israeli Jews within the old pre 1967 war borders is still in power...
The Jewification of the Palestinian villages and neighborhood annexed to the Israeli Jerusalem have lately a pick in Silwan. In response, the initiative in Jerusalem of the coalition against occupation - our activists participate in, started a weekly vigil in a critical tourist point, to show our indignation about the mounting atrocities.
Elad association has been working to cleanse the neighborhood of Wadi Hilwe in Silwan from it's Palestinian inhabitants for over a decade. The association uses different means for its objectives: buying out houses legally or by forgery and deceit, utilizing a network of collaborators which destroys the community from within, and mainly using the archaeological excavations and growing tourism as means to oust the local residents.
The state of Israel has given the full responsibility and control over the archaeological sites in Silwan to Elad, which in turn created a method of expelling citizens from their properties, appropriating public areas, enclosing these lands with fences and guards, and banning the entrance of the local residents. Elad monitors and executes aggressive archaeological excavations which are conducted secretly and illicitly, while violating international codes of ethic and under the protection of a private security force. Elad has managed to put its foothold in all the authorities and committees that are relevant to its cause: the Jerusalem municipality, national state committees, the antiquities authority, the nature & national parks protection authority, and the custodian for absentee property. Any attempt by the local residents to stand up against Elad, is met by a swift operation of the Israeli police and security services (shin-bet).
Hundreds of thousands of visitors a year are led through the excavation site in Silwan, and are brainwashed with a biased narrative told by Elad, under the charm of the national parks and antiquities authorities. The distortion of facts and the oppression of the local residents must come to light, and especially to those who visit the site.
South of Bethlehem Friday demonstrations against the separation fence and occupation.
About a year ago, the building of the separation fence reached the south sections. The villages of the region their land is robbed by this war crime activity started demonstrations and other direct actions - invited the anarchists against the wall to participate in the planing and enacting of activities. At the completion of the year of persistent activities, a new local popular comity of the Al Hader village decided to start regular Friday demonstration. Activists of the AAtW initiative and others from Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv join these activities.
This Friday, a minibus with activists from Jerusalem was intercepted on its way to Um Salmuna. This was one of the reasons the demonstration was very short.
This Friday, the Israeli state forces made special efforts to prevent the continuance of the demonstrations in Al Khader. Two military cars with soldiers invaded the village before the convergence of the villagers for the demonstration. They confiscated the communication equipment used to summon the villagers to the demo. They also hit the organizer and charged them with incitement to disturbance of the social order. The AAtW activist confronted the state force regarding the harassment and the confiscation of equipment - extracting a promise to return it later. On the way home from the canceled demonstration information was received that the equipment was indeed returned.
Beit Umar planed the demonstration on this Saturday - like in few previous ones, so it will not compete with the other Friday demonstrations in the region. Thus, we traveled this Saturday too to Beit Umar for the early afternoon demonstration.
In response to the intensification of the struggle of Beit Umar against the separation fence and the expansion of the near by Karmei Tsur colonialist settlement, the Israeli state force took special measures to harass the village.
Following are excerpts from report on this activity and the resistance to it:
"Tonight, sometime around 01:00, the army invaded Beit-Umar with more then 100 soldiers. The soldiers are doing house to house searches, and more then 50 people been arrested. There is a full curfew on the village, and the army is blocking the entrance to the village.
It's already the fourth night in a row that Israeli Occupation Forces occupy one of the homes deep in the village at sunset. The family is concentrated in one room after (telephones) communication devices are taken from them. The aim of occupying the house - a lookout on the area around the house in order to locate stone throwers.
Three Israeli activists rode tonight to visit the family living in this house. Following a polite knock on the door, it opened by no other than the folks of the terrorist organization the IDF, armed from head to toe. The soldiers, according to procedures, let the activists into the house in complete shock from the surprise visitors.
The activists were concentrated in the guest room. The house owner was held in a room with his family under the watch of two soldiers.
Four soldiers that were in the entryway - second lieutenant Ehud (commander of the force), Nati, Masi, and Israel (Shrul) entered the guest room and began demanding the cell phones. "For What?" the activists asked and were answered that phones are taken from there so that they won't communicate with the outside world and will report about operation activities. The activists inclined their request and passed their cell phones. The video camera with them didn't stop recording for a moment since they had entered the house. The activists tried to find out if the soldiers had an order or something allowing them, just like that, to invade someone's house an push it's residents into a room. After a few minutes the soldiers also notices the camera and demanded to take it. The tape was ejected and the camera passed along. The soldiers, that decided that the tape was also important to them, demanded the cassette. The answer they got was no. "The tape cannot record without the camera" the activists answered and put the tape in a pocket. The soldiers didn't like the idea and started demanding, assertively, the tape. In a place where words failed, the soldiers started to push and bend the activists' hands. The tried again and again to get to the tape, but didn't manage.
One of the activists began feeling ill. He coughed heavily and breathed deeply. The activists asked the soldiers to retreat and let him breath. Even this thing cost a few pushes, but when the soldiers understood it was serious they regained composure tenfold. One of the soldiers took care to organize the teddy bear and heart collection that had fallen during the struggle over the cassette. Boy, what an enlightened army.
The family, despite their being locked in a room, sent their guests water and tea. The activist who felt bad sipped water and tea and reclined under a pile of blankets and coats.
The soldiers began withdrawing from their aggressive behavior and went out of the room as each time they leave one soldier for watch. A the intended hour (around 23:00), the soldiers closed the room doors. The friends came down from the roof of the house and left the residents. The doors opened and the house residents were released from their jail (that hours ago had been their home) went out to meet the visitors who had come from afar.
Good and all ending. A few kids with traumas, terrified parents without ability to provide security to their children, and neighbors that can't really help.
And the soldiers? The coin hasn't dropped. Tomorrow, so it seems, their will occupy another home temporarily"
This Friday demonstration theme was the mounting repression in Gaza. We marched from the center of the village to the gate in the separation fence to the western lands of the village. In addition to the chants, we carried a symbolic "corps" of a baby in a funeral like box, and a huge black flag of two by twenty meters.
When we arrived at the route of the separation fence, we forced open the external gate and one comrade brought the symbolic coffin up to the electronic fence, retreating fast backwards to where the other demonstrators stood. In retaliation, a bullet was shot by the Israeli state force and one comrade was seriously wounded.
Before that, in parallel to it and all along the demonstration, an ex-Israeli activist involved with our struggle played his instrument wit music appropriate to the occasion.
At some moment, a tear gas grenade exploded where the state force were posited behind the rote of the separation fence. They were forced to escape from there and as a way to vend their humiliation they crossed the route to our side and started to push us down the hill - ordering us to return to the village.
Though the soldiers were many, not all of them were enthusiastic about that, and we resisted the order in the usual persistence. Thus, after arresting one activist and harassing others, the soldiers lost their energy and we regrouped half the way down the hill.
The soldiers then change their focus toward stone throwers youth located among the near by olive trees, sooting them and throwing on them tear grenades.
After a while, we returned to the village leaving the arena to the main band of stone throwers who waited till our non violent demonstration finished.
Link: to photographs of an American activist who was shot in the head in Bil’in in a below a video clip of the previous three years anniversary demonstration
Video of David Ribb on the 3 years anniversary Fridays Bil'in demonstration at
Following are links to video clips of this Friday demonstration in Bil'in: