Gaza, East Jerusalem, Bil'in, Ni'ilin, Um Salmuna, Azun, Saffa - these are not just points on the map but fields of struggle. It seems that after military activities and the armed struggle calmed a bit, the the political arena is approaching a crisis... and the nonviolent popular struggle collect momentum. Bil'in which was for the first two years of struggle nearly the only persistent arena of nonviolent popular struggle against the occupation and the separation fence - is not alone. However, it is still in the center of local and international attention. It inspire other regions and villages to adopt the style - some after joining the demonstrations in Bil'lin and meetings with the local and AAtW activists.
The "coalition of women" which organized the 10 days of actions against the siege and blockade of Gaza, sent to the various mailing lists of the left (including our list) a warm thank you - naming the people that were involved in the project (half of whom are of the Anarchists Against the Wall AAtW initiative).
Physicians for Human rights are organizing a first-aid workshop for protesters. it will be held in Bil'in, on Saturday, the 11th of July, between 10:30 and 14:30.
the workshop will be held by several prominent Israeli doctors, board members of PHR, together with doctors and medics from the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committes (UPMRC), and will be held in Hebrew and Arabic. This is meant to be a joint workshop, and we are encouraged to participate. PHR will be in touch with Ni'lin to see if they are into coming as well.
This Friday demonstration was different from these of the last months.
We had nearly two car loads of Israelis of the AAtW from Jerusalem, who joined a bit smaller than usual Tel Aviv and Neve Shalom contingent of 15 only... who joined a dozen international and dozens of Bil'in villagers.
We marched as usual with chanting and a bit of dancing from the center of the village up to the gate in the separation fence.
There, we had the first surprise. The state force swarming the big concrete blocks on the elevation behind the gate were not seen in their position. When we reached the gate, there was not the usual shower of tear gas.
When few activists opened the external gate fortified with barbed wire, still nothing. Not even when some approached the electronic fence and put there on fire a used car tier... In response to an intensive stone throwing barrage the soldiers came with shields and stood along the electronic fence - no shock grenades on the activists who stood there, and no shower of tear gas on the stone throwers.
Few times, the border police unit came running and throw some tear gas canisters that did not deter the stone throwers.
As if in demonstration of indifference the police and army cars left their position behind the fence and went away.
Just to adhere to the protocol the border police near the big concrete blocks fired some tear gas grenade from their positions.
After a long while, when people and photographers started to return to the village the tear gas machine gun shoot a barrage of tear gas and most participants went away leaving some stone throwers kids behind.
The riddle was solved when it was even more extremely out of the usual in Ni'ilin, and the mild style was found to be staged for a big media recording.
Video clip of Friday 19.6.09 demonstration at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udmVhEbMdTQ
As per the Friday tradition, following lunchtime prayers a group of approximately 150 protesters set out to the route of the fence. Ni’lin residents were joined by 10 Israelis and about 20 internationals. The protesters reached the southern section of the fence, that cuts the village off from its olive groves, for the benefit of the Hashmona’im settlement, and were held up at the barbed-wire fence which prevents access to the route. With the help of bolt-cutters, the Shabab, (local youth) proceeded to take direct action (however symbolic) against the fence that was erected against their will in order to plunder their land. About 70 meters of barbed wire were thus dismantled, and the easy access to the electronic fence (rendered defenseless by the topographically-inferior route in this area, clearly exposing the state’s lies to the high court) enabled those members of the shabab with good aim to destroy some of the poles that contain the electronic equipment.
All through this, a group of soldiers and border police looked idly on, and did not intervene, as they usually do, by attacking the protesters. This raised some eyebrows, and the question was solved when a group of journalists and photographers showed up on the soldiers’ side. It seems that the army had staged a media event in order to demonstrate the leniency it employs during these protests, which begged the question of why has such a kind and lenient approach to policing led to the deaths of 5 protesters in Ni’lin in the last year. Some military jeeps then drove along the fence route, to serve as a convenient target for the stones of the Shabab, and the lenses of the media. After a couple of volleys of teargas fired from the jeep-top launchers, and a few gas grenades launched feebly, but by the book, by some soldiers (presumably to make the show a little less obvious), the demonstration dispersed, and most protesters went back to the village to participate at a wedding that to be held that evening.
Another Friday 12.6.2009 Ni'ilin video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqTtPiAqGMY
MA'ASARA (Um Salmuna etc.)
Monday, AAtW activists participated in the celebration in Beit Umar of the freedom of Mussa Abumaria - a central activist of the struggle against the separation fence in the region who was many months in Israeli administrative detention. At the evening there was a n organizational meeting:
1. media: we are trying to coordinate with the media (getting contacts with Palestinian media, and outside - of course each of us is recommended to translate the report and spread it in his own country) in order our report to be spread asap and to be reliable.
For the idea of a website al-Ma´sara will coordinate with Stop the Wall C.
2.involvement of more people: we focused mainly on women and university students. For the women, the idea is to have a demo of women in al-Ma´sara, that will be organized by Palestinian and Israeli women (Women Coalition for Peace). When and how are to be discussed. For uni students, a meeting will be organized the 25th, time and location to be decided yet.
We discussed also alternative and creative ways to hold future demonstrations, and activities to be done during the coming al-Ma´sara summer camp (mid July till august), with children.
This Friday there will be planting of olive trees in Artas, in the land that will be confiscated for the construction of the Apartheid Wall. After the activities transportation for al-Ma´sara demo will be provided.
A meeting is going to happen on coming Sunday, 16:00 at Beit Jalla regarding activities in the near future. They would like to have our cooperation on this.
Hey, here the details: demo at Azoun Atma Gate to open the gate for non-Azoun residents. Start of demo this Friday at 1pm.
What was presented as an initiative of the local villages popular comities was found to be an initiative of a political party....
"Three cars left Tel Aviv to join a demonstration against the wall that surrounds Azun-Atme. We first met with members of the Qalqilia branch of the Palestinian communist party (PPP). We joined several internationals and were briefed by the locals.
Azun-Atme is entirely surrounded by the separation wall. Entry is permitted only to registered residents of the village. This restriction prevents any economic activity, and severs work and family ties with Qalqilia and the surrounding villages. The fence is a means to "dry out" the village and encourage a population transfer that would allow Israel to take over its land".
Sham politics: The usual authoritarian from up to down
The party members explained that this was a "pilot" demonstration and was therefore to be small in scale, without shabab, without local villagers and avoiding friction with the army. The stated purpose of the organizers was to turn the demo into a weekly protest with the participation of local villagers.
"After being offered coffee, party shirts and hats we left for the demonstration. About 11 Israelis, 8 internationals and 20 Palestinians gathered at the Azun-Atme gate. The army was suspiciously peaceful, the liaison office smiled throughout, no police or border patrol were called and the checkpoint operated smoothly throughout the demonstration. For over half an hour slogans were chanted and speeches made against the separation wall and in favor of Palestinian freedom. After absorbing a dangerous overdose of Palestinian sun the demonstration dispersed without conflicts.
Even stranger than the Bil'in and Ni'ilin state forces behavior this Friday.
Like in recent weeks, this Saturday we will went to Saffa in order
to join the local farmers in their agricultural work.
"Another 'joyful' Saturday withe the settler colonialists of Bat Ain...
It was the sixth consecutive Saturday that Israelis and international activists accompanied the Palestinian farmers in their disparate efforts to pick grapevine leafs at their vineyards. As usual, the settlers harassed them and the state forces expressed their objections to the Palestinians in unpleasant ways.
The day action ended with 7 people detained. They were taken to the Tunnels roadblock, but unexpectedly released there.
The first shock grenade was thrown by the border police gendarmes. Activists were dragged on the ground and were hit.
We succeeded to pick grapevine leaf for the whole 30 minutes..."
Pictures at: http://dada.israel.indymedia.org/newswire/display/10900/index.php
Link to video clip at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIuMC5vkHUU