During the week, activists of the AAtW were involved mainly with the struggle against transfer in east Jerusalem, in the efforts to block the expulsion of guest worker families with children, in solidarity with the arrested Bil'in activists in Ofer concentration camp. Involvement with the struggle in the southern region of the occupied territories continued. On Friday we participated in the weekly demonstrations in Bil'in and Ni'ilin. we also participated in a parallel demonstration in the village of Ein Ayub (located between them). There, the focus of the demonstration was a concrete road block that force the villagers to travel in a round about roads of about 20 kilometers. The villagers succeeded to move the blocks, but the state forces moved them back and kept guard.
During the week coalition the AAtW is part of issued a call:
No to the Apartheid Wall! No to Land Annexation!
Protest against the permit policy that prevents farmers from reaching their lands
Saturday at Bet-Surik-Bidu
This Saturday, 12th of September, at noon, there will be a large demonstration in the villages of Bet Surik and Bidu in protest of the permit policy that prevents Palestinian farmers from reaching their lands across the separation wall. The demonstration will take place opposite the agricultural gate located opposite the settlement Har Adar, which is built on the lands of Bet Surik and Bidu. We, the Israelis intend to demonstrate on both sides of the wall: from the settlement side and the Palestinian side.
On Saturday noon, about 45 of us arrived there on the two sides.
On the "Israeli" side - on the settler colonialist Har Adar about 35 of us protested the the permit policy and its aggravation lately, which prevent Palestinian farmer from accessing and working their lands.
State forces tried to block the way of our comrades but they succeeded to approach the gates of the route of the separation fence - about 100 meters from the demonstration on the Palestinian side.
During the demonstration we called - on both sides, for the end of occupation, against the separation fence and robbing the lands by Israel and its colonialist settlers. Police officers and a settler which arrived on the Israeli side threatened with retaliation and firing of workers of the village Bidu hired by the settlers.
Mobile phones and loud speakers enabled to communicate between the two parts of the demonstration and to unite them into one.
The procession in Bil’in started after the noon prayer. Palestinian, Israeli and international activists joined together on the path to the fence, chanting the slogans “no to the wall”, “no to the occupation” and “we want peace”, in Arabic, English and Hebrew. On the other side of the fence, behind their concrete blocks, 8 army jeeps were looking on. Tear gas grenades were fire in the direction of the procession, from the army forces situated north of the path and a warning issued from the army: “This is an illegal demonstration, anyone nearing the fence may get hurt”. The group wasn’t deterred and continued walking up the path, chanting.
Upon reaching the fence the procession continued chanting slogans, and big banners of “we want peace”, in English, Hebrew and Arabic were held up. Shortly after we reached the fence, several soldiers were deployed to the fence and greeted us with tear-gas grenades, both fired from the cannon and manually flung at us, by the soldiers with riot gear. This would repeat several times. Fortunately, the wind was in our favor. The activists shortly disperse to the sides of the path and come together again, adding the chant “shame on you” and opening the inner gate in a symbolic gesture.
Near the end of the demonstration the soldiers opened the outer gate, firing more gas grenades and smoke bombs, running into the demonstration area, in order to make an arrest. This prompted the activists (heads of the popular committee especially, due to the recent barrage of arrests) to run in the direction of the village. Signifying the end of the demonstration. As we walked back up the path, to the village, tear gas was again being fired from the northern force.
Bil'in Friday 11.9.09 video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPA-L0GSWwM
During the week AAtW issued a call: There will be a demo in Ein Ayub (near Harbata in the Bil'in area) this Friday.
Some 150 residents of Dir Qadis and Kharbata, joined by 15 Israeli activists, demonstrated against the concrete blocks that have been placed on one of their two main roads. The blocks have been in place since 2000, but protests are only starting now.
After a short march demonstrators reached the blocks and decorated them with Palestinians flags. A part of the demonstration went on to the near by settler road, where the residents' ongoing discomfort caused by the Apartheid road system was made clear as demonstrators banged stones on railings in a steady rhythm, and took down road signs with the names of settlements. Several passing settler cars were met with shouting, and fewer with sporadic stone throwing.
After 15 minutes the army came, and the demonstrators reunited around the road block. Village representatives made their demands known to the army officers in place, who only seemed to be interested in ordering their soldiers to surround the demonstration and aim their guns at it. Some twenty minutes later the demonstration ended, with no physical confrontations.
Friday, Around 150 demonstrators gathered in Ni'ilin for the weekly demonstration against the combined wall & fence infrastructure built upon the village lands. At start, the group reached the concrete part of the land-stealing barrier. The demonstrators hanged a Palestinian flag on the top of the huge slabs, reminding the world - and the near by settlers and soldiers - that their spirit will not be crushed by the wall. Jeeps patrolling behind the wall were welcomed with stones, and shot back tear gas arbitrarily . The demonstration then moved to confront the soldiers in the open field adjacent to the wire-fence part of the racist project. In spite of the immense heat and the thirst due to the Ramadan fast, the demonstrators stood for hours confronting the soldiers, cutting the fence, some throwing stones, all while coping with big amounts of tear-gas flooding the fields. As the soldiers realized they will not break the demonstration from their secured posts behind the fence, a group of them crossed the gate and entered the Palestinian side by foot chasing the demonstrators closer to the village. After relatively short confrontations the soldiers backed. This time, the demonstrators decided not to follow them back to the wall, and the demonstration ended quietly.
Ni'ilin 11-9-09 - link to video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBe6VqTGzZ8
Link to a video of the demonstration against the expulsion of of guest worker families with children: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Iu7HFXygCY