The struggle this week was "colored" with the olive picking season. Israelis of the wider coalition of opponents of the occupation which include the anarchists against the wall initiative were invited by villages who were usually harassed by Israeli state forces and neighboring colonialist settlers. In Bil'in, soldiers objected to the combining of the weekly demonstration against the separation fence with picking olive on the other side of the fence. In Ni'ilin, a big crowd of Israelis and Palestinians faced the regular harassment in spite of previous permit. In Um Salmuna, after the usual Friday demonstration the AAtW contingent joined the struggle in Beit Umar. Saturday, olive picking at Asira alQibliya (nabuls region).
The Friday demonstration of Bil'in got a reinforcement, as the usual locals, Internationals ,and Israelis, were joined by a contingent from the northern part of the occupied west bank, and the French Farmer Union of north France).
"The demonstrators chanted against the discriminatory policies of the occupation and called for a national unity among the Palestinians, while they were carried ladders and tools to pick olives. When the protest reached the gate, protesters tried to access the land to pick olives, but they were stopped by sound grenades and teargas canisters. Dozens suffered inhalation and around 14 volunteers were shot with rubber coated bullets when the IOF attack the weekly protest. Most of the injuries are from the popular struggle people known among them: Sameeh Fawzy, Baker Suliemnan Baker and Naseem Aljabaritie was sent to Alshiesk Zayed hospital in Ramallah city. The other injured are Azzmi Alnabali, Omar Saleh, Basem Ibraheem, Kamal Aljhaj, Mohammad Sadeq, Mohammad Abo Rumi, Samer Awwajneh, Khamees Abo Rahmah, Adeeb Abo Rahmad and Abdullah Abo Rahmeh the coordinator of Bilin popular committee."
After coordination meeting in the village and advertising during the week we were ready.
"Friday early morning, people of the village, accompanied by about 100 Israelis, Internationals, and a delegation from Bilin popular committee walked towards olive orchards located on the other side of the route of the separation fence in construction. Though there is no fence there yet, the occupation authorities demand from the villagers to apply for permits if they want to access these locations for cultivation or olive picking.
The village popular comity decided not to accept this demand and not to apply for permits to access the land owned by the village people, but in spite of that the army authorities were informed that a big olive picking works will be done that Friday. (Organizers of the Israeli coalition who contacted the army authorities were ensured the area is open for all as long as no confrontation will be initiated by the villagers.)
In spite of that, when the people approached the route of the separation fence, they found there tens of border police gendarmes who blocked their way and tried to disperse them using shock grenades and direct shooting of tear gas canisters towards body of people. At that stage, one Israeli was hit in his belly and injured and the foot of one of the photographers was injured by a shock grenade.
During the confrontation, as the people refused to retreat, three of the AAtW were detained and two of them arrested and taken to the near by road block there they were held till afternoon in spite the police order (after an hour) to release them as the olive picking was "legal".
After a negotiation, the occupation authority ordered the forces guarding the construction of the separation fence to allow the picking of the olives located on the other side of the separation fence in construction.
At noon, many of the villagers converged at the area adjacent to the fence for the Friday noon prayer... and just as it ended the Israeli forces attacked them with tear gas - including women and children who picked olives near the location of the prayer.
Afterwards, the gendarmes advanced towards the village while massively shooting tear gas canisters. One of the olive pickers of the village escaped - leaving his van among the trees. the gendarmes ignited the car, driven it towards the roadblock where they left it... not before they smashed its windows,punctured its wheels, scattered the olive sacs that were on it, and stole a case with tins of cold drinks of the pickers".
UM SALMUNA - BEIT OMAR
The usual Friday demonstration against the separation fence was quiet like most of the demonstrations there along the las year. After it, the AAtW contingent traveled to the near by Beit Umar village. Following is description of the situation in the village:
"For some of you this is old news but Beit Ommar has been under a relatively bizarre and massive incursion for the past 24 hours. Bizarre for Beit Ommar, at least. Soldiers have taken over two houses and put up some pretty substantial structures, they look like they'll be here a while. They are also blocking all other streets in the village as of 7 am (pal time) this morning, and yesterday declared a closed military zone to internationals and Israelis for the entire village (don't know when that's gonna be up). They also broke into the international house (Mousa's house*) last night, though didn't come in. The soldiers have been pretty violent, arrested at least 10 people last night, keeping 5 of them for some period of time in the house that they had taken over before taking them to the police stations in Karmi Tsur or Gush Etzion."
Today and request for tomorrow
today the Palestinians of the village of Asira alQibliya (nabuls region) were joint by Israelis activists and international activists in their olive harvest, the village has suffered allot lately from attacks of the near by settlement of Yetzhar and today also the settlers arrived and attacked the families resulting in two Palestinians injured, the families of the village asked if any Israelis could join them tomorrow in order to finish the harvest in the more dangerous areas.
* Mousa Abu Maria is one of the leading activists in the non violent (joint) struggle against the separation fence and occupation. He is already in jail for the last half year under an administrative order.