This week the joint struggle against the occupation and the separation fence got lot of media space. Especially the bank-rot of a building company in Modi'in Ilit where the success to get a verdict to move the route to the west put it out of business. The BDS our comrades involved in got huge exposer as an Israeli academian published an article on it in US media, and the rightists attached him out of proportion. In addition to the Friday demonstrations against the separation fence and occupation in Bil'in and Ni'ilin, we were involved also in the demonstration in Bidu & Beit Surik, that may become weekly too. A new site of joint struggle? "A meeting in Qarawat is scheduled for this Thursday (27.8) at 17:00. There aren't yet too many concrete ideas for action in the area..."
Bidu & Beit Surik
The village Bidu who was involved in an intense struggle against the separation fence six and five years ago regain the struggle again. This time the focus is the restriction of the passage of villagers to cultivate their land on the "Israeli" side of the electronic fence.
This Sunday (30.08.09), 10 activists of the Anarchists Against the Wall (AAtW) joined few international activists an few dozens of villagers of Bidu & Beit.
After we converged, the gate to the route and the gate of the electronic fence were forced open. When the Israeli state forces rushed to the place people set down in the middle of the route. After a while and negotiations, the demonstrators moved back to the side of the village and a long and hot "discussion" started between the Israeli authority personnel and the village activists.
This week, in spite of threats by the commander of the state force, no one was detained and we returned safely home.
"Thursday, 27 August 2009: The Bil’in popular committee and their friends - including Israeli activists [of the AAtW], welcomed the delegation of the “Elders”, including Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu who visited the Apartheid wall in Bil’in. The “Elders” placed symbolic stones on the monument commemorating Bassem Abu Rahme, a non-violent activist who was shot dead on 17th April 2009 while attempting to speak with Israeli soldiers during a Friday non-violent demonstration. (A video can be seen on http://palsolidarity.org/2009/04/6185)"
The demonstration started at the center of the village directly after the Friday prayers, with participation of hundreds of Palestinians of the PFLP (including two groups from Lebanon and Syria), and from Bil'in, 20 international and 30 Israeli activists of the AAtW initiative. Demonstrators walked chanting in the village streets and in the road leading to the gate to the west of the fence.
Like in previous Friday, while marching on the road - long before we reached the gate of the route of the separation fence, a unit of the Israeli state force located beyond the fence threw tear gas grenades which did not deter us.
As the protesters reached the Apartheid Wall, Israeli activists dressed up as construction workers with yellow helmets holding up road signs such as "Illegal Wall ahead," "Wall Removal in Progress," and "Construction work ahead" cordoned off the barbed-wire fence and gate inside the Wall. One of the activists hit the steel fence with a huge hammer in a symbolic action of dismantling of the fence. It was a way to call the attention to the need to remove the separation fence and to not yet implemented verdict/resolution issued by the Israeli Supreme Court to move the route of the fence eastward.
The Israeli state force at the gate area were nearly out of site beyond their fortification and passive for nearly half and hour. When the demonstration started to march back to the village, the state forces got active and showered us with a cloud of tear gas and spray of stinking water. Three protesters were lightly wounded - including the wheel chaired Rani Burnat who nearly never miss his place at the head of the Friday demonstration. (He was shot at his neck in a demonstration in 2000 by Israeli sharpshooter of the state forces 2000 and only one of his hands is in good condition). He was scorched by a tear gas grenade thrown to his lap. Dozens others were suffocated with tear gas.
Friday 28.8.2009 Bil'in demonstration at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPwWMYU-ex0
This week's demonstration in Ni'ilin was longer than usual, anticipating the coming Ramadan month, with its daily fast.
The 100 demonstrators marched to the route of the fence to view the concrete wall under construction parallel to the existing fence. Israel has built the wall farthest it could from the settlement Chashmonaim trying to satisfy its appetite for Palestinian land, thus locating the fence in a topographically low area – allowing the village youth to through heavy stones on it, and so inflicting it with heavy damages. The military now erects the concrete 8 meter high wall to defend the wire fence...
The demonstrators faced various weapons used by the soldiers, including tear-gas grenades shooting, rubber bullets, the smelly "skunk" and live ammunition to the air. After having an eating & drinking intermission, and after the Israeli demonstrators had already left the village, the youth once again took to the fields, succeeding in crossing the gate to the route of the fence. The soldiers shot rubber bullets, and apparently some extended range tear gas canisters.
Ni'ilin Friday 21.8.2008 video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Di7VL4DyVic
Ni'ilin 28-8-09 - link to video
OFER (concentration camp)
Video of the August the 24th demo outside Israeli military prison Ofer calling for release of political prisoners http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/08/25/18619243.php