Saturday, April 25, 2009

Palestine-Israel, Joint struggle at Um Salmuna and added mourning in Bil'in and Ni'ilin... and Tel Aviv and Saffa too

We participated during the week in The Fourth Bil’in International Conference on Non-Violent Resistance under the name of Bassem Abu Rahma. About 60 activists from the Anarchists Against the Wall who marched during the years with Basem in the Friday demonstrations came to this Friday demonstration that was in his name, to give him the last honer and to mourn him. Another act of mourning this week was in Ni'ilin, that in spite of the murder of 4 of its youngsters during the months of struggle, opened on Tuesday a second exhibition about the Holocaust and we also had a joint "march of life" towards the separation fence. We participated also in the Friday demonstrations against the fence in Ni'ilin and Um Salmuna. Saturday we tried to join the struggle at Saffa.


"Man shall not live by Holocaust alone"
The Popular committee for the non-violent resistance of the wall in Ni'ilin invites to participate in the "Life Walk" demonstration in the Holocaust Memorial Day, tomorrow, Tuesday, at 14:00.

The exhibition and the march were covered by both international and local TV media.,7340,L-3704234,00.html

In a kind of response:

Member of Israeli parliament biggest party Kadima, Otniel Schneller, called on Friday at a rally in support for IDF soldiers in Ni'ilin for courts to Issue restraining orders against the anarchists protesters against the security barrier in the West Bank villages of Bil'in and Ni'ilin. Schneller said:
"There should be restraining orders against the anarchists, just as there are restraining orders against the extreme Right during the olive harvests in Samaria." ".


Link to Israel Puterman video of Basem Ibrahim Abu-Rahme's funeral 18-4-09.

"Today (Monday) in Berlin 100 people have demonstrated in Protest of the murder of Bassem Abu Rahme and in solidarity with the joint Palestinian, Israeli and international resistance against the occupation.

The demonstration was organized in one day by a diverse coalition of groups including the Jewish Voice for Just Peace, ISM, IWPS, Anarchists Against the Wall- Berlin, the International League for Human Rights, The German section of War Resistance International and members of the Palestinian Community. The demonstrators assembled in the heart of Kreuzberg in Heinrichplatz and carried pictures of the Israeli photographers collective Activestills documenting the Resistance against the Wall and also pictures showing Bassem and his murder. The demonstrators then marched on the Oranienstrasse calling in German "Long Live the International Solidarity", "The Wall must fall" and "Free, Free Palestine". Speeches were given to the participants and to the many Berliners that were on the street - about the joint resistance in Palestine, the Killing of Bassem and stressed the necessity of international pressure against the Israeli Apartheid regime. Flayers describing the murdering of Bassem were widely distributed to the many by passers.


The Fourth Bil’in International Conference on Non-Violent Resistance under the name of Bassem Abu Rahma April 22-24, 2009 had hundreds of participants from all over the world and all Palestinian regions.

Excerpt from the announcement

First day:

Welcome speeches 9:30-10:30
• Eyad Burnat head of Bil’in Popular Committee
• Salam Fayad, Prime Minister of Palestine
• Luisa Morgantini, Vice President of the EU Parliament
• Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize

Break 10:30-10:40

Panel 10:40-11:40
• 10 minutes for each of the Heads of Delegations, including Adar Grayevsky, activist from Israeli Anarchists Against the Wall

More information can be found at


Low on the scale of humanity

On Friday evening the phone rang. It was my daughter. She wanted to tell me that she had just heard that Bassem had died. That a gas canister was shot at his chest at short range during the demonstration at Bil'in and he collapsed on the spot. She sounded completely calm and matter-of-fact. That's how she is. She has no illusions about life. And she loathes melodrama. She works with drug addicts and AIDS patients, and knows there is a list of categories of people in this country who have, in the public's eye, lost the right to be considered human beings. Among these transparent people are those perceived as wretches, who have brought their misfortune down upon themselves: The Palestinians are one category on the list - together with drug addicts, prostitutes and AIDS sufferers. She therefore sees it as her obligation to stand at their side as well.

About two years ago she came home from the weekly demonstration against the separation fence in Bil'in, and related that she had met the best-looking man in the world there. Two weeks later I went with her to the village to meet him and his family. I took along as a "reinforcement" my cousin, Liliane, who was visiting from France and was the first in our family to have crossed the line and married a Muslim Arab. We were also joined by a photographer, Dan Keinan, who took pictures of the loving couple, Bassem and my daughter, sitting in Zahara's vine-covered bower.

Zahara is Bassem's aunt. Her house is the last one in the village; after it begins the slope down to the separation fence. The bower is the usual resting place for demonstrators after they have run up the hill, panting hoarsely from the gas grenades that the soldiers have lobbed at them. Under the grapevines sat Bassem's widowed mother and relatives of the Abu Rahmeh family, who came from here and there: a lecturer at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, party activists, a wealthy contractor who spoke fluent Hebrew.
Bassem promised he would learn Hebrew so it would be easier to come and visit my daughter. He was proud of the temporary permit he had been given to work in Israel. In fact, it was a restricted-travel permit limited to the Jewish settlements in the territories, and good for six months. Bassem took me for a tour of the village and told me about the houses and who lived in them. There were kitschy rich people's houses with red roofs and simple folks' houses with flat roofs.

Bassem, 31, came from a modest family. He was not an intellectual, but he had natural leadership abilities. I returned to the village several times and watched him calming down groups of angry young people near the separation fence, so they would not provoke the soldiers. I saw him maintain order during the historic demonstration, about a year ago, that marked the Supreme Court's recognition of the justice of the villagers' case, and its ruling that the lands stolen during construction of the separation fence must be returned to them.

That was a euphoric day in the village. The Palestinian prime minister came to give a speech, along with a group of dignitaries from Ramallah. The audience spontaneously began to dance. Bassem stood off to one side, poker-faced, perhaps because like my daughter he had no illusions and he did not like melodrama.

Indeed, the Supreme Court ruling has not been implemented to this day. The demonstrations against the separation fence continue as usual every Friday. After the noonday prayer at the local mosque, the qadi, who is also the local paramedic, dons a phosphorescent Red Crescent vest and the demonstrators, who wait in the shade of the trees in the adjacent cemetery for the prayers to end, set out down the hill to the fence. At the head of the procession marches an elderly man, one of the founders of Fatah, who always reminds me of my grandfather - an elder of the Zionist sports organization Maccabi, who used to march at the head of the parade at the opening of the Maccabiah event in the Ramat Gan Stadium.

Over the years, the conflict between the demonstrators and the soldiers has become a ritual with routine elements. Behind the fence stands a line of expressionless soldiers, wearing helmets and with weapons cocked. Their commander, in a jeep behind them, calls through a megaphone for the demonstration to disperse.

It is clear from the outset that the demonstrators do not stand a chance in face of the soldiers and that the protest is only symbolic. There is a hill overlooking the arena of the regular encounter between the demonstrators and the soldiers, where the women, and the reporters and cameramen stand; the whole audience watches the gladiator show without really participating in it. But sometimes, willy-nilly, the audience becomes an actor.

Once this happened to me. I was standing and observing what was happening from afar and suddenly a gas grenade landed next to me, fragments of which cut me in the neck. Last Friday something similar happened to a French woman journalist. A grenade fragment cut her face. Bassem rushed to her aid and called to the soldier behind the fence to stop the shooting so that she could be evacuated. In response, the soldier loaded a gas canister into his rifle and fired it at Bassem's chest.

Thus ended the brief story of the life of Bassem Abu Rahmeh, who was handsome, tall and charismatic, but in terms of the scale of categories of humanity, ranked very low.


Demonstrations against Israel's separation fence in the West Bank left some 29 people injured on Friday, as Israel Defense Forces soldiers fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullet at protesters. Approximately 1,000 Palestinians and left-wing activists protested the route of the security fence in the towns of Bil'in and Ni'ilin in the West Bank.

Palestinian sources said the wounded included Palestinian journalists and family members of Bassem Abu Rahmeh, who was killed during a similar demonstration last week. Twelve demonstrators were injured in Bil'in and four protesters were injured in Ni'ilin. A total of 13 Israeli troops were also injured in the demonstrations. The 13 Israel Police and Border Police officers were lightly wounded by stones hurled at them.

Protesters said 10 people were injured by rubber bullets, including three Israelis [AAtW activists, I.S]. All of the wounded suffered light injuries to their feet.

Abu Rahmeh, 31, was killed during a protest last week in Bil'in, which has been a flash point for confrontations between soldiers and anti-fence protesters. IDF sources said last Saturday that the tear gas canister that killed him was likely fired in violation of orders.
Bil'in 24-4-2009 - link to Isralel video at
and David video at
When we arrived at the gate of the separation fence the state forces started to shower us with tear gas. In spite of it, dedicated activists refused to retreat and built a memorial monument at the point Basem was murdered the previous Friday.


On Thursday evening AAtW activists and other supporters demonstrated in center of Tel Aviv in solidarity with Neta Mishli. The state forces did not like them and arrested two of our comrades who spent the night in jail.

Neta Mishli, 18, from Tel-Aviv, a signatory of the 2008 high school seniors refusal letter, who began serving her first prison term today (23 Apr.) Neta arrived yesterday (22 Apr.) at the military Induction Base and refused to enlist. For this she was first sentenced to seven days of confinement to base (she was told there was no room in the military prison for women). However, the following day she was again tried and sentenced, this time to 20 days in military prison. She was told that the Military Attorney's Office has authorized trying her again for the very same act.

Neta has prepared the following declaration upon entering prison:

"I am not willing to be part of an organization committing war crimes, taking the lives of thousands of innocent civilians, an organization that, in the name of humanism and democracy, forces me and my peers to sacrifice a period of our lives, and our lives themselves, for false calm, for no calm shall come to pass until Israel decides to give up the policy of war and turn towards peace. Therefore, as a small step towards stopping the cycle of bloodshed, I hereby refuse to enlist in the military".

Neta Mishli is due to be released from prison on 10 May, but is likely to be imprisoned again soon afterwards.


R.W. wrote:
"4 Israelis and some 15 internationals joined over 30 Palestinians for the weekly demonstration against the wall in Um Salmuna. After a short march the demonstrators reached the barbed wire barrier set by the soldiers to prevent demonstrators from reaching their lands. The demonstrators tried to bypass the barrier, and eventually managed to remove it, but were forcefully blocked by the soldiers. After speeches commemorating the murder of Bassem Abu Rahme in Bil'in a week earlier and the 64th anniversary of the collapse of the fascist regime in Italy the demonstrators again tried to cross through, but were violently pushed back by the soldiers, who threatened to arrest the non violent organizers despite their persistent and successful efforts to prevent violence and escalation. After a brief confrontation the demonstration turned back into the village and dispersed."


We were invited to join the struggle in Saffa on Saturday:

Some short clips of April 8 when settlers attacked Saffa, an area next to Beit Ommar. 11 people were shot by the military but thousands of Palestinians came out.

This Saturday at 9:30am farmers from Saffa (also known as Khirbet Saffa, between Beit Ommar and Sourif) want to go to their land near Beit Ayn settlement to prepare the land and prune the grapevines before the summer.

about 10 activist left Tel Aviv on Saturday morning to join Palestinian farmers attempting to get to their lands. They joined actions coordinated by the PSP and Taayush. On action was to take place in Saffa near Bat Ayin (a notoriously dangerous settlement) and another in Hebron. In both cases large numbers of police were waiting in most checkpoints leading to those locations. The police said they wee acting on "intelligence" to prevent the arrival of provocateurs. By that they mean solidarity activists who try to accompany farmers to their lands. The police did not manage to completely prevent the arrival of the activists but they did delay and limit the arrival of activist. The good news is that in Saffa the farmers were able to work their lands after all without the assistance of Israeli activists.

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