This week, the state forces stopped the night rides harassing and arresting activists of the Bilin village. On the refugees and "guest workers" front, the expulsion of children born and raised in Israel and their parents deferred to the end of school next year. A n activists film "Refugees" was screened in the main TV channel. The struggle continued against transfer in Sheikh Jarrah (occupied Jerusalem) and with the Bedouins in the Israel south. The involvement with the olive picking continued, and with the new wave of high school seniors refusnics too. Friday on-going joint demonstrations of the Anarchists against the wall and the Palestinian villagers of Bil'in, Ni'ilin, Ma'asarah.
In spite of stormy whether, bout 30 Israelis, Internationals, and people of Bil'in participated in the weekly Friday demonstration against the separation fence, the settlements, and occupation. This the demonstration was devoted to calling for the release of Abu Rahmah, as well as to protesting the ongoing attempts to eliminate the village’s resistance. Protesters marched on Friday wearing masks of Adeeb, declaring “We are all Adeeb Abu Rahmah”.
Adeeb Abu Rahmah, who has been detained for over three months, is not suspected of committing any violence, but was indicted with a blanket charge of "incitement to violence", which was very liberally interpreted in this case to include the organizing of grassroots demonstrations. A judge had initially ruled that Abu Rahmah is released with restrictive conditions, but an appeal filed by the military prosecution had the decision overturned, and he was remanded until the end of legal proceedings. Since the arrest, the defense has appealed this decision four times. Trials often last up to a year and Abu Rahmah is the sole provider for a family of eleven.
Abu Rahmah's arrest came amidst an Israeli arrest and intimidation campaign that began concurrently with preliminary hearings of a Bil’in lawsuit against two Canadian companies responsible for the construction in the settlement of Modiin Illit (built on lands robbed from Bil'in and neighboring Palestinian villages). In almost five years of protest, 75 Bil'in residents were arrested in connection to demonstrations against the Wall. Of them, 27 have been arrested in the recent, ongoing arrest campaign. Israeli forces have been regularly invading homes and forcefully searching for demonstration participants, targeting the leaders of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, as well as teenage boys accused of stone throwing. Sixteen currently remain in detention, nine of which are minors.
During the demonstration youngsters succeeded to enter the route of the separation fence through a breach in the external fence of the route - in spite of heavy shower of tear gas. The main body of the demonstration arrived as usual at the main gate to the other side of the fence and confronted there the state forces for nearly an hour - in spite of sporadic showers of tear gas grenades. Few of the grenades that were not activated the first time thrown, were returned to the soldiers to taste their own medicine.
Some 40 Palestinian demonstrators from the village of Ma'asara, joined by twenty internationals and four Israelis, marched from the village center towards the route of the Apartheid Wall. Demonstrators carried flags of many different nations which show solidarity with Palestine in order to remind Israel that the entire world demands the end of the occupation.
As usual, the march was stopped by occupation soldiers with barbed wire at the entrance to the village. While many of the demonstrators found cover from the rain under a huge Palestinian flag, a few daring activists stood in front of the soldiers in their T-shirts, waving the different flags. Speeches were then carried in Arabic, Hebrew and English, noting the insistence of the struggle to go on in all sorts of weather, and calling upon the soldiers to refuse and switch sides. In an attempt to help the soldiers do just that, some of the village kids stepped on the wire or tried to remove it all together. The soldiers, however, choose to maintain the separation between themselves and the demonstration, and pushed the children away.
After another half hour of slogan chanting in the pouring rain led to the end of the demonstration. Though none were arrested or wounded, some cases of a potential cold were noted amongst the soaking demonstrators.
Ni'lin's first winter protest was held under heavy rainfall. Consequently, the number of protesters was smaller thanusual, and consisted of a few dozen Ni'liners, ten israelis and a similar number of internationals. Some of the demonstraters set fire to a large pile of tires placed near the wall's concrete slabs. The combination of heat and humidity seemed to have cracked parts of the concrete. A number of protesters clashed with the soldiers guarding the fence, who fired volleys of tear gas and squirted the "Skunk" which was particularly potent in stench. No injuries were recorded aside from gas inhalation, and the protest ended earlier than usual.
Pictures at: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/10/31/18627278.php
Vudeo demo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLfLZH8gHHQ
Vigil for olive trees cut by settlers in the Hebron area http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/10/31/18627264.php