AAtW activists continued involvement in the occupied Jerusalem and with the refugees in Tel Aviv. This week comrades increased presence at nights in Bil'in to confront Israeli state forces invasions and efforts to arrest Bil'iners. We participated in the Friday joint demonstrations against occupation and the separation fence together with Palestinian partners and international volunteers in Bil'in, Ma'asara, and Ni'ilin. Saturday we participated in the water coalition act in the South Hebron region to frustrate Israeli state efforts to transfer Palestinians from "choice locations". One of activists enter prison for 20 days for refusing to pay fine for joint action against demolition of houses in the village Harbatha.
During the week, AAtW activists and internationals stayed at night in the village and confronted the invading Israeli state forces.
Following is an excerpt of report on such a night invasion:
"Israeli forces invaded Bil'in once again just before 1am. Six jeeps entered the village via the gate in the occupation wall. Two jeeps stopped at the house of Mohammed Ahmed Yasseen (age 21) and searched for him in the ground floor apartment belonging to his mother. Four jeeps stopped at Abdullah Mahmoud Aburahma's (age 37) house and searched for him there. Two of these jeeps left quickly to search for Yasseen Mohammed Yasseen (age 21) at his home. None of the men were at home and no-one was arrested.
International and Israeli activists accompanied local Palestinians at all three locations to protest against the invasions and to document events. The house searches were relatively short-lived, compared to the numerous previous invasions. The soldiers delivered letters to all three families demanding that the three men go to Ofer prison to meet 'Captain Fo'ad' of the shabak. This was the first time such a demand was written in Arabic."
Over 35 Israelis and 10 internationals joined local Palestinians for the weekly Friday demonstration against Israeli land theft and ongoing oppression in Bil'in. The demonstration was relatively small and quiet, with the few kids who fight Occupation with stones keeping away from the non violent demonstrators and getting gassed. The fence gate was pulled open quite quickly by protesters, who entered the area between the fences as a symbolic assertion of Palestinian ownership of the land stolen by means of the fence. A couple rounds of gas pushed most demonstrators away. During the last round soldiers crossed over and arrested two Israeli demonstrators as well as Haithem Khatib, the courageous video journalist responsible for the documentation of the recent nightly military raids on the village. After an hour or so the commanding officer crossed over, and told the few demonstrators waiting for the release of their friends that the detainees were handed over to the Police and security services for investigation. He explained that demonstrators can demonstrate as long as they wish, but they cannot cross the fence line. We were all impressed by his enlightened attitude.
Bil'in 25-9-09 - link to video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XevFskx9HM
On Friday, around 200 demonstrators, Palestinian, Israeli & International activists, participated in the weekly demonstration against the wall in Ni'ilin. The march went from the village to the newly laid concrete wall - to meet the soldiers threatening the demonstrators from its other side on a new high rampart. Alas, the new position proved to be a double bladed sword, as it enabled some of the demonstrators to easily stone the soldiers on it. The confrontations near the concrete wall went on for nearly an hour, and the demonstrators focus moved to the wire part of it. In a manner that seems to become the "regular", the soldiers used large amounts of tear gas, answered with stones. Again, the persistent demonstrators confronted the soldiers for hours. And again, in the same "routine" manner - after these few hours the soldiers gathered in front of the gate and eventually invaded the village fields. But this time the attackers had a different than "normal" plan - they rushed over the demonstrators and managed to arrest three of them - two international activists, and an Israeli photographer. The soldiers violently convinced the arrested to accompany them to the jeeps, thus gaining a human shield against the stones. As the soldiers and the arrested went out of sight, the demonstration was declared over. Fortunately enough, the arrested were released the same night.
Arrestees of Bil'in and Ni'ilin
All of yesterday's arrestees [of Friday demonstrations - 3 in Bil'in (Haitham Khatib, Ben, Assaf) and 3 in Ni'ilin (David Reeb+2 internationals)] have been released late Friday night. They were all transfered after the demonstrations ended to the Binyamin police station and interrogated on disorderly conduct ("Hafarat Seder"). The Israelis and internationals were forced to sign an undertaking to stay away from the Bil'in-Ni'lin area for 15 days. Our Palestinian comrade - Haithem Khatib, the video journalist,who was already charged with violating a closed military zone order, forced to sign an undertaking to stay away from the fence in his own home, bil'in, and ordered to show up to a court hearing in six months.
Yesterday (Friday) some 40 Palestinians, 30 internationals and ten Israelis marched from Ma'asara village towards the planned route of the Apartheid Wall, planned to be built on the village's lands. The demonstration commemorated the recent death of popular committee member Qaher Ala-Din, who was killed in a car accident while driving with a Palestinian friend and a French journalist, who was at the time working on a film on the village's struggle.
Like every Friday, the demonstration was stopped by soldiers who put barbed wire on the road leading from the village to its lands. Soldiers forbade the procession from marching forward, but gave no legal or other justification for their acts. Demonstrators gave speeches in Arabic, Hebrew and English, calling upon the soldiers to refuse, join the demonstration, and avoid facing charges in international criminal courts in the future. After the speeches the village's new and young Samba band came on, following a month of drumming lessons with Israeli drummers of the Qassamba group.
The demonstration ended with no arrests or wounded, but with the promise to carry on with Qaher's way of non-violent and popular resistance.
Kobi of the AAtW refused to pay the fine equivalent of US$500.- and got 20 days in jail.
"[Palestinian] PSP Supports Kobi Snitz, an Israeli Activist Beginning Short Prison
Term for Anti-Occupation Activity - posted on September 21st, 2009.
Kobi Snitz, a long-time activist with the Israeli group Anarchists Against the Wall, and a personal friend of PSP, begins a 20 day prison term for an arrest in 2004 in which he tried to prevent a home demolition in the Palestinian village of Kharbatha, in the Ramallah District. He is [one of] the first Israeli activist[s] to serve time for a demonstration in the Occupied Territories. His statement (from yesterday) is below:
'Tomorrow I will start a 20 day prison term. It is a result of an attempt to prevent a house demolition in kharbatha [neighboring Bil'in]. As you probably know 20 days is nothing compared to the time many Palestinian teenagers have to do. Unlike them, I did not have to do this. I refused to pay a fine [equivalent of US$530.-] and was therefore sent to jail.
throughout the long trial I had other opportunities to avoid prison but could not bring myself to admit guilt in any way or accept the sentence given me. I and the others who were arrested with me are guilty of nothing except not doing more to oppose the truly criminal policies of the state. To be forced to say otherwise is as demeaning as it is untrue. Compared to it 20 days in jail are a small price to pay'."
As part of the joint struggle against the occupation and the Israeli state efforts to transfer Palestinians from "choice locations" using the restriction of supply of water, there are "water convoys" of Israeli activists together with Palestinian partners.
This Saturday convoy is one of them. It was organized and participated by a wide coalition of Israelis and Palestinians - the Anarchists Against the Wall participated in.
Some 100 Israeli activists left Tel Aviv and Jerusalem today to bring water to several isolated villages in the South Hebron Mount. These villages suffer more than anywhere else from Israel's racist water policy, as they lack connection to water pipes, and suffer from army attacks on what few water wells and deposits they have. Busses where harassed several times on the way, and stopped completely near the Carmel illegal settlement, where soldiers claimed the area was a closed military zone, though no warrant was shown. Activists got off the busses and started marching, passing the bewildered soldiers and policemen and moving on towards their destination. Attempts to stop the spontaneous march failed, and the hostile forces left the area.
Meeting with Palestinian partners, activists mounted water trucks and tractors and traveled the dessert until they reached a physical block on the road, put there by the army to make Palestinians' lives harder. A mass direct action, backed by a bulldozer hired for the cause, broke the road open and allowed water trucks to pass. At this point four soldiers appeared and tried to arrest the driver for the bulldozer, or at least stop it from moving. And so the activists split, leaving a small group to safe guard the bulldozer and allowing the majority to move on to the final destination.
It took the small group that stayed back two hours to convince the soldiers to leave and to secure the safe return of the bulldozer and its owner to their home. Meanwhile, the main group reached the destined villages and transferred eight trucks full of water to local residents. Four army vehicles showed up too late to stop the action, and though declaring the area a closed military zone (this time with a warrant) - could not really do anything to the activists.
With the road open, the water at its rightful place and with no arrests or wounded - the action was declared a success.