Sunday, March 1, 2009

Palestine-Israel, Raining weekend did not deter the AAtW people from participating in the joint struggle.

The rain did not cancel the Friday demonstration against the separation fence and occupation at Bil'in, Jayyous, and Ni'ilin. Few joined the demonstration in Silwan, at the enlarged Jerusalem area, against transfer of Palestinian families. In Bil'in, the theme of the demonstration was: "solidarity with Silwan Residents and support for national unity". The usual "reception" at the gate to the route of the separation fence was a shower of tear gas grenades. Due to the strong winds and persistance - including throwing back of tear gas grenades, the unit of state force changed their mind and "alowed" us to reach the electronic fence and stay there till the end of the demonstration was declared. Video clips available: Ja'ayus 27-2-09

FROM AAtW web page:

Demonstrations Continue in Jayyous, Bil’in and Ni’ilin 27/02/2009

In the West Bank villages of Jayyous, Bil’in and Ni’ilin, Palestinians were joined this Friday by Israeli and international activists in their ongoing weekly demonstrations against Israel's wall. Despite a harsh weather of hard rains and strong winds which continued for most of the day, residents of these three villages took part in protest marches and attempted to reach the wall being built on - and separating them from – their own lands.

Demonstration against the wall in Jayyous. Video by Yisrael Puterman

In Jayyous - where up to 68 acres of land will be razed for the new path of the wall and a further 1,380 acres will be permanently confiscated – a few dozen demonstrators braved the rain, waving Palestinian flags and chanting slogans against the wall. However, as the protest march reached the end of the village and continued on the road towards the wall, soldiers began firing teargas canisters and throwing concussion grenades, driving people back into the village and causing local youth to throw a handful of stones in retaliation. Army jeeps then entered the village itself, and soldiers went into houses, searching, harassing and intimidating people. Shortly after, the army imposed a curfew on the entire village, as a form of collective punishment designed to scare its residents into stopping their demonstrations.

It should also be noted that for the last several weeks, Jayyous has been the site of intense repression, including several military occupations of the village and the use of live ammunition against protesters (just 9 days earlier, over twenty jeeps entered the village and soldiers raided and occupied Palestinian homes, throwing concussion grenades into houses before forcing their way in at gunpoint. Sixty five residents, including organizers of the weekly demonstrations, were rounded up and interrogated, with seventeen of them arrested later on).

In Ni’ilin, residents gathered after the Friday prayers and attempted to march from the village’s main road in the direction of the wall. The path eastward was blocked by an army jeep, and the muddy terrain would have made fast movement considerably harder for people, so demonstrators proceeded to walked back to the center of the village and up to the clinic, where they began marching on an asphalt road towards the site where the wall is currently being built. However, a large army presence was waiting behind the olive trees further down the road, and soldiers attacked the march with teargas canisters and concussion grenades even before it passed the last houses of the village.

As troops began advancing towards the village, local youth built barricades and tried to hold them back with slingshots and firecrackers. Soldiers eventually positioned themselves on the outskirts of Ni’ilin and fired large amounts of teargas into the streets and alleyways, to which locals continued responding with stones. The clashes lasted for a couple of hours, after which troops retreated and left the area. A few people were lightly injured from teargas canisters hits and tear gas inhalation.

Demonstrator kicking tear gas canister, Bil'in. Photo by Haytham Al Khateeb

In Bil’in, demonstrators gathered at noon and marched after prayers towards the route of the wall. Protesters carried a huge banner depicting the flags of all different Palestinian political factions, as a symbol of unity, as well as banners condemning Israel’s racism and violence against civilians – this week focusing on Silwan, East Jerusalem, where the army has recently issued demolition orders in the Bustan neighborhood.

In spite of the rain and the tear gas canisters fired by Israeli troops stationed on the other side of the wall, some demonstrators managed to go trough the gate into the area between the two separation fences and stayed inside for nearly 20 minutes, calling for peace and voicing their objection to the theft of their lands by Israel. Several were injured from tear gas inhalation.

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