The AAtW were involved this week in the joint struggle against the separation fence and occupation in Ni'ilin - during the week, and in Friday at Um Salmuna (south Bethlehem) and in Bil'in (west of Ramallah). This week the Israeli media was flooded by reports on the suppression of the struggle against the separation fence due to the exposer of the case of the shooting of handcuffed and eyes covered Ashraf Abu Rahmah. The Tel Aviv widely distributed week end supplement of Haaretz daily cover and some articles were about the shooting of him and of other activists. Because of that, the state forces were very "gentle" in the treatment/suppression of Bil'in Friday demonstration, as never before.
>>>>>>>>> NI'ILIN <<<<<<<<<<<<<
This week there were three joint demonstrations by the village activists (mostly), Internationals and the people of the Israeli anarchists against the wall (AAtW) initiative.
There was the usual Sunday demonstration. There was the women's demonstration on Wednesday, (link to the video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmYyDDdpUM0). There was also the usual Thursday demonstration.
This week there was a huge coverage of the struggle in Ni'lin in the Israeli media and some even in the international one including the British BBC. The main item that even caused a scandal in the Israeli side was the revealing of a video clip of an episode of the curfew of two weeks ago. Day after day, in both TV channels, radio and newspapers, you could see the shooting in the foot of the handcuffed and eye covered Ashraf Abu Rahmah, while held by the lieutenant colonel; hear the discussions of the event, and even see live the lame apology of the government war minister. See http://news.walla.co.il/?w=/0/1316530
The abuse that was documented on video can be viewed in many internet web sites including in the following report from: http://www.btselem.org/english/Firearms/20080721_Nilin_Shooting.asp
21 July '08: Following exposure by B'Tselem, Military Police investigate shooting of bound Palestinian
Yesterday (20 July), B'Tselem published footage it received of a soldier firing a rubber-coated steel bullet, from extremely short range, at a Palestinian detainee who was cuffed and blindfolded. The act occurred about two weeks ago in the presence of several security forces, among them the battalion commander, a lieutenant colonel, who held the Palestinian’s arm while the soldier fired.
According to press reports, the Military Police have opened an investigation and arrested the soldier who fired the shot. Apparently, until the video was aired, the army did not conduct a Military Police investigation, and settled for an operational debriefing. According to the reports, the debriefing reached the desk of the Judea and Samaria (West Bank) Division Commander, who failed to inform the Military Police or the Judge Advocate General’s Office, or to take any measures against the soldier or the battalion commander. Residents of Ni’ilin stated that, the day after the incident, they saw the soldier still serving in his unit.
When questioned by investigators, the soldier stated, according to press reports, that the battalion commander had ordered him to shoot the detainee. The commander, however, admitted only that he had ordered the soldiers “to frighten” the bound Palestinian.
Video footage from the incident: http://www.btselem.org/english/Firearms/20080721_Nilin_Shooting.asp
The incident took place on 7 July, in Ni’ilin, a village in the West Bank. A Palestinian demonstrator, Ashraf Abu-Rahma, 27, was stopped by soldiers, who cuffed and blindfolded him for about thirty minutes, during which time, according to Abu-Rahma, they beat him. Afterwards, a group of soldiers and border policemen led him to an army jeep. The footage shows a soldier aim his weapon at the detainee’s legs, from about 1.5 meters away, and fire a rubber-coated steel bullet at him. Abu-Rahma stated that the bullet hit his left toe and that he received treatment from an army medic and was then released by the soldiers.
A young Palestinian girl from Ni’ilin filmed the incident from her house in the village. B'Tselem received the tape yesterday and forwarded a copy to the Military Police Investigation Unit commander, with a demand that an immediate Military Police investigation be opened, if one hadn’t already been initiated, and that the soldier be brought to justice. B’Tselem also demanded an investigation into the involvement of the battalion commander, who held the detainee. B'Tselem stressed that members of the security forces are obligated to report unlawful acts and that a senior officer’s failure to do so is particularly grave.
>>>>>>>> BIL"IN <<<<<<<<<<<<
This Friday participated the usuals - Palestinians (mainly from the village), Internationals (including a Spanish contingent) and the AAtW activists (with others who joined us). We marched as usual with placards, flags, chants, and some dancing till we reached the gate to the route of the separation fence.
This demonstration had a unique component: in its head marched Ashnaf Abu Rahma - head cuffed and blindfolded - just as he was seen in the video clip that show how he was shoot at while held by the lieutenant-colonel. (see the Ni'ilin video clip that show it at http://www.btselem.org/english/Firearms/20080721_Nilin_Shooting.asp)
This demonstration was unique in additional component:
Previous Friday, when few of us entered the route of the separation fence, the Israeli state force showered us with tear gas and we had to escape after few minutes. This Friday when the bigger part of the demonstration entered the route, with Ashraf at our head shooting to the state force present to bring the lieutenant-colonel, they did nothing. for about half an hour we marched in the route along the electronic fence that run in its middle, and still nothing. Only when we exited from the route of the fence and few kids started to throw stones on the state force, they got the excuse to start to shoot at us - the nonviolent demonstrators, tear gas canisters.
Following is a link to a video clip of D. our dedicated video documenting comrade, who was hit by a direct shooting of tear gas canister at that point - after he documented most of the demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwt6oexdsO8
Pictures of the demonstration can be seen at: http://www.bilin-ffj.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=75&Itemid=1