Sunday, February 1, 2009

Palestine-Israel, Just another week of AAtW struggle against the separation fence and occupation

Wednesday we participated in the demonstration against the separation fence in Ni'ilon and visited there the Holocaust exhibition,7340,L-3662608,00.html in the municipality building. On Friday we participated in the usual demonstrations against the separation fence in Bil'in, Ni'ilin, and Um Salmuna. In Bil'in we had a reinforcement support from the leftist Palestinian Front of struggle. We also had a second wave headed by three local women that brought us up to the electronic fence. In Um Salmuna the local comity dared to lead the demonstration to the local highway - going around the unprepared state force road block. A high ranking commander detained a member of the village comity and the I.D.s of participants confiscated. However, after a 10 minute stay, the demonstration declared finished and both the detainee and I.D.s were released.

On Saturday, January 31st 2009, at 15:00, we will hold a protest event in Gan Hashnaim (Yefet st. corner of Dr. Erlich), with projections of testimonies from Gaza, art installations and performances.

Ja'ayus 23-1-2009 - link to video


Friday 23-1-09 demonstration video at
Friday 30-1-09 demonstration video at
As it happen often the last few weeks, when two demonstrators hung flags on the gate to the route of the separation fence, the Israeli state force showered us with tear gas. After regrouping, three Palestinian women marched towards the gate and entered the route and even shake the electronic fence, while shouting on the state force. The state force shamed by the women refrained for few minutes from resuming shooting, and others of us joined the women.

After a wile the state force started to shower us again with tear gas and gradually forcing us to retreat to the village.

Following are excerpts from the report of Iyad Burnat- Head of Popular Committee in Bil'in:

"Dozens suffered ["only"] from teargas inhalation during the Bil'in Weekly Demonstration
Friday, 30 \ 1 \ 2008

"The march drew a crowd of cadres and members and supporters of the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front [from the west bank], hoisting banners and chanting slogans calling for unity and the removal of settlements and the wall and lifting the siege on Gaza."

"Khamis Fathi Abu Rahma left the hospital yesterday after being injured by Israeli soldiers on Friday in the head with a new type of gas, corrected by the Israeli soldiers, causing a fracture and severe bleeding in his skull, where the Israeli soldiers deliberately pointed their guns at the heads of the demonstrators especially when firing tear gas."


Ni'ilin demonstration 21-1-2009 - link to video

Report of Professor Uriel Prokachia on a previous Friday demonstration against the separation fence

Come to Ni'ilin - Personal experience on what happens on Fridays in the village, will enable you too to decide on morally related questions

Every Friday protest actions happen in the Palestinian village Ni'ilin with its 5,000 inhabitants, against the separation fence, that cut between the village and its fields.

The protest activities initiate confrontations between the villagers and the security forces, that already cost a high price of life of villagers, serious injuries on both sides and destruction. Naturally, such violence rise a serious ethical question. We "consume" every week contradicted reports of the villagers and of the security forces, where each side blame the other side for the responsibility to the tragedy.

Last Friday, I decided to enter the village without prejudice to witness with my own eyes what happens, without biased reports. May be what I have seen is only one piece of a more complex picture I failed to decipher its full meaning, but even this piece rise in me a serious worry.

Ni'ilin is a picturesque village adjacent to the hills scene north of Modi'in. Most of its lands were expropriated after the Six Days war [1967] for "security reasons" and were built on a string of settlements, among them Modi'in Illit, Hashmonaim, Kiriat Sefer, and Nili. The security fence will bite wide area from the small remaining area - though the High Court of Justice, the less cruel for the villages from the alternatives the security forces brought before it. However, it is hard for the villagers to accept this alternative that will result the loss of means of livelihood for many families and intensify the feeling of economic and emotional strangulation forced on them from the beginning of the occupation.

Friday, 10:00 in the morning, the village seems to be calm and serene. Merchant stand in front of their meager shops, people are conversing in the small alleys and small herds of sheep and goats are lead by teenagers to the near by pasture lands.

Gradually, started a converging of about 200 people on a high hill facing the far away separation fence that separate between the village on one side and Modi'in Illit and Hashmonaim on the other.
Most of the people are from the village including women and children. I counted about a dozen of participants from out of the village, who express support to the struggle against the separation fence. Already at that time, jeeps of the border gendarmes are seen among the olive trees, about a kilometer or two from the converging people.

After a while, the people are forming a procession for the march. The soldiers and the policemen are spread out near by. Five minutes later, with no sign of violence from the side of the converging people - even before the starting of the march towards the far away fence, the state force started to spray the whole region with tear gas.

The youth start to throw stones, but only for a short period, as the teargas do its job. It is impossible to stay within the cloud of tear gas. The gas blind the eyes and choke your breath.

The people, and me too, escape into the houses. The people in the house that took me in shut all the doors and windows so it will not be flooded by the gas. The security forces continue their bold and ordered march into the village and invade its central square. From there, they continue to shoot tear gas into the houses. All the village houses are wrapped by the gas. The house I hide in is wrapped by gas from outside but significant amount penetrate in due to incomplete sealing of the doors and windows.

Me and my courteous hosts, I was not acquainted before, shed tears like the Mississippi... but as we were healthy we got over eventually with no harm. I am less sure about the fate of babies, old folk, and people with problematic respiration system.

At that stage I assumed that the Friday program was fulfilled and I may resume business as usual. However, the security forces thought otherwise. The shooting continued and continued. All the villagers were hiding at their homes. The village is covered with a disgusting cloud tear gas. The time pass, one and a half, two, two and a half, three... and the shooting continues. I know what happened afterwards only from rumors as my host that worried about me found a way to smuggle me out of the village to the near by high way using side way that bypass the shooting area.

May be some readers will doubt the authenticity of the report, or that will say that it is all in the eyes of the one who look at it.... But, the ethical question presented here is important. Every one of us must equip himself with a real personal narrative that will shade light on his road. There is only one ethical way to do that: sacrifice the pleasures of one Friday and come for direct experience in the village. It worth the sacrifice. The village is friendly to its guests, the view is wonderful, at least in the minutes of grace you can look at it with tear-less eyes.

Professor Uriel Prokchia is the head of the M.A. program in law of the interdisciplinary center of Hertzelia collage

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