The joint struggle of Israeli anarchists against the wall initiative with Palestinian villages activists started in Masha camp - spring 2003. That summer the joint direct actions against the separation fence started in Zabuba and Mas'ha and continued in various villages for a while. February 2005 started the persistent weekly joint actions - first in Bil'in, and 3 years later in Ni'ilin, and Ma'asare region - specifically Maasara village, Beit Umar, and Beit Jalla. Nebi Saleh is enlargement of ongoing struggle to other aspects of the occupation - robbery of land and resources. Sheikh Jarrah is unique as its on going struggle is within occupied east Jerusalem and the struggle is against transfer. In parallel, we still continue with support to refugees from Africa and to our Refusnics.
BETHLEHEM - BEIT JALLA
The march, which began after the Palm Sunday service at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, was held to protest a recent aggravation of Israeli restrictions on movement through the checkpoint. Protesters aimed to highlight restrictions on access to Jerusalem on the day marking Jesus' entrance to Jerusalem in Christian tradition.
Wow, what a day: over 100 native Palestinian Christians and Muslims and internationals including Israelis, breached the tight security separating the Palestinian cities of Bethlehem from the occupied city of Jerusalem. Donkeys and people arrested!
We were initially some 150 strong and started from the Church of Nativity at 11:45 AM carrying palm leaves an banners asking for freedom of worship and movement (as demanded by international law). The demonstration included individuals riding 2 donkeys and a horse. Appropriate since Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey. Like him, we knew this was not going to be an easy entry but we did believe in the goodness of humanity. We arrived at the main gate used for tourist buses at around 12:30 and decided to just keep going. The few soldiers and police at the gate tried to close it but we managed to get in and the huge 8 meter high metal gate stopped half way perhaps as a safety mechanisms since there were dozens of people passing and they could be crushed if it continued.
The Israeli security forces tried to close other fences but we kept going. As word reached their offices, the Israeli army was mobilizing its forces and soon several army jeeps arrived and blocked the road half way between the gate and Deir Mar Elias (the monastery at the edge of the city). The blocked our way. Ibrahim Salah riding his donkey was speaking to them in Hebrew and saying why can't we go to Jerusalem. It is our right to travel. He was the first to be violently knocked down off his donkey and arrested. The next was an American girl, then some Palestinians. All violently wrestled to the ground when even many were just peacefully walking back to the gates. It seemed like a calculated move to punish some of us so that others get the message not to try this again.
Some 60 of us ended up being rounded up in between a wall, a hill, a gate, and a cordon of police officers. We expected to be all arrested. The occupation soldiers instead plucked random people that they thought were the key people.
We had significant local and national and international media coverage (email us if you are a media outlet and want to do a story or receive video and and/or pictures). The people are willing to pay the price. Israeli forces released 4 Israelis and the one American student. They kept 11 Palestinians and are charging them with "incitement", "participating in an unauthorized demonstration" "entering 'Israel' without a permit (as if occupied Arab East Jerusalem is Israel)", and "interfering in police business". Lawyers will show that this is all bogus. But in any case, the popular resistance movement is growing and is willing to pay the price for such significant achievement as this.
The repression only strengthened our collective will to move forward. We were all elated at this success. We know some Israeli officers; maybe the private "security" company that is contracted by the Israeli government to manage these apartheid wall system. Entering Jerusalem beyond the apartheid wall on Palm Sunday showed what popular resistance can achieve. When I talked to one of the people they kidnapped, he indicated they were all in good spirits and were holding together.
While we hear "Arab leaders" met in Libya and issued more useless declarations, the popular resistance celebrates this victory in Bethlehem and will work to achieve others. A demonstration will be held on Monday at noon in front of the gate at Bilal's mosque/Rachel's tomb area. Hope to see those of you who can there.
http://www.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=78620 (in Arabic)
Oh and yes, a donkey and a horse of Ibrahim are also held by the might army of apartheid Israel for they too need permits from the Israeli military to get in. Palestinian Christians have demanded entry to Jerusalem without the regime of special permits (apartheid system): see http://www.imemc.org/article/58203 We will continue to demand this basic human right for all Palestinians regardless of their religion. The train of freedom is on the march and we are all asked to get on board.
"Tomorrow (Wed.) we are going to have a meeting in beit Umar regarding our activities there . if you want to go please call me"
On Saturday, a small march was marking the intention for the continuous struggle of the village against the separation fence and occupation.
Friday, in heavy rain some 30 Israelis, internationals and Palestinian supporters including Mustafa Barghouti joined Bil'in locals for the weekly demonstration against the wall. Despite of the army's threats that anyone approaching the fence will "get hurt", the procession insistently reached it's destination and began the traditional ceremony of attempting to open the gate. After around 10 minutes of chanting and attempting, the army grew tiered of free speech and commenced firing gas and shock grenades at unarmed civilians. In retaliation, 2 Palestinian protesters and one Israeli, bearing Palestinian flags, decided to cross the gate. The army quickly responded and sent Sunday, 28.3.10 Israeli forces arrested 15 demonstrators, including Abbas Zaki of the PLO Executive Committee, during a Bethlehem demonstration to mark Palm Sunday and protest Israeli restrictions on movement. An AP photographer and four members of local popular committees were also arrested.
The municipal council of Izbet Tabib village (Qualquilia region) and the popular comity against the occupation and the separation fence of the west bank invited us to the regional convergence in Izbet Tabib to mark the Land Day on Saturday.
Call for mass demonstration and press conference in Al Ma'sara village, Friday 26 March 2010.
Please join the demonstration against the Wall and the settlements this Friday in the village of Al Ma'sara, located south of Bethlehem, followed by a solidarity lunch and press conference.
It is very important to show solidarity with the village's struggle a few days after the release of Omar Alaaeddin, an organizer of the demonstrations who was nabbed from the Container Checkpoint on Sunday the 14th by the Israeli army and was subsequently beaten and tortured at the checkpoint and then in custody. He was released on Sunday night (21th of March) with no charges pressed against him. Battered and still in shock, Omar is still under medical treatment, his back especially showing many marks of lacerated wounds and he still suffers an injury to his leg from the beating, and feels pain in his neck and head.
This is the second time this month that an organizers from Al-Ma'asara are detained and assaulted at the container checkpoint after Border Police officers recognized them from demonstrations. On March 2nd, the mayor of Al-Ma'asara, Mahmoud Zwahre was detained and beaten on his way to a meeting in Ramallah. This is part of a wave of violent repression and attempt to stop the popular resistance in the West Bank.
The demonstration, starting at 12am will be followed around 1.30 pm by a press conference and solidarity lunch during which Omar will be available for questions.
The theme to this week's demonstration in Ma'asara was solidarity with Omar Ala-Din, a resident of the village and activist in the demonstrations, that was recognized as such by soldiers two weeks ago in a checkpoint, and was therefore beaten badly and held in custody for more than a week. Some hundred Palestinian, Israeli and international demonstrators marched through the village streets in the rain, carrying pictures of Ala-Din's scars and calling for an end to the occupation. Protesters were joined by Al-Aqsa mosque high Sheikh, Taisir Al-Tamimi, and were stopped by soldiers who blocked the village exit. The Sheikh and other demonstrators called upon the soldiers in Arabic, English and Hebrew to refuse to participate in the oppression of the popular struggle, this in the same week when four teenage Palestinian were shot dead by the army.
A joint Israeli-Italian samba drumming band accompanied the demonstrators as they tried to go over the barbed wired fence the soldiers put on the road. Soldiers responded by pushing and threatening the demonstrators, claiming that if the march will go over the fence it will "cease to be non-violent". After another 15 minutes the demonstration was over, and the march returned to the village, where a solidarity visit was made to the home of Ala-Din, who told his story and promised to return to activity once healed of his wounds.
In Sheikh Jarrah some 400 demonstrators protested against the ongoing ethnic cleansing policies of the Jerusalem municipality and the Israeli government, with the proxy of violent settlers and police. Following the approval of new (Jewish) construction plans in the Shepard hotel compound about one hundred demonstrators marched to the hotel and held a parallel vigil there, after which they marched back to the central demonstration through the neighborhood. The police, which since the beginning of the protests in the neighborhood forbids demonstrators to actually enter it while settlers are allowed free access, attacked the march and threatened with arrests. However, eventually the march was freed and both parts of the demonstration were reunited in the regular location. After an hour and a half of protest, drumming and singing, demonstrators left peacefully.
Hours after the demonstration was over, police reached one of the regular activists in the struggle, Michael Solsbury, and arrested him for suspicion of rioting. This is the first time that police come to an activist's house, and make arrests outside of demonstrating hours. Solsbury was held in custody and questioned, and was finally released, but informed that charges will be pressed the next day.
Israel Puterman video of Friday 26.3.10 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1403JRacvE8
Around 70 Palestinian, Israeli and international demonstrators marched on Friday in An Nabi Saleh, nearby Ramallah. Israeli soldiers besieged residents inside their homes, and used a massive number of tear gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets to disperse the crowd. According to local sources one Palestinian protester was injured in the foot and dozens were treated for gas inhalation.
Palestinemonitor.org - photos: http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article1333
We arrive in Nilin after sailing with our cars through the rivers of Palestine. Because of the heavy rain the demonstration was small than usual around 50-60 demonstrators half Palestinians and half Israeli and internationals. we marched to the wall where the gate was closed and after few minutes there the soldiers start shooting tear gas us. Few moments later the rain picked up and we had to hide beneath the olive trees, the soldiers did the same hiding in their outpost. The demonstration ended around an hour, so we went back to village wet as small puppies.
David Reeb: Friday 26.3.2010 Ni'ilin video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsY2VLaKcf4
Shir Regev, 19 years old, an Israeli anarchist, was released from his 1st prison term for refusing to serve in the Israeli army, and sentenced to a 2nd term yesterday 25/3/10, this time 10 days, which he will serve at prison 6 in Atlit.
Shir Regev's letter to the Israeli authorities follows.
Shir will be glad to receive letters. If you wish to write to him, you can send your letter to:
From: Shir Regev
To: Induction Bureau, Haifa
Copies : Prime Minister Netanyahu , Minister of Defense Barak
My name is Shir Regev and I have been a deserter since 1/12/09. I believe it is my personal duty to refuse and defect from an army whose main purpose is to serve as an occupation police for maintaining "Israeli order" and imposing it on defenseless Palestinians who are denied citizenship.
And what is this "Israeli order" ? It is an ongoing process, in effect over 42 years, comprising a military regime over the Palestinians, denying them access to Palestinian community resources of land, water, agricultural crops and ores. It is also entails pollution of their land and their streams, along with support for disenfranchisement by settlers who live in the same areas, under a separate system of seemingly democratic laws. And I have not even mentioned the violation of more basic Palestinian human rights, like denying their freedom of movement, and causing bodily harm, including mass killing, without due investigation of alleged criminal offenses of the gravest type. These acts may constitute war crimes under international law.
Since I have the medical profile of a "combat soldier", had I joined the army, there is no doubt I would have been sent to serve this "Mafiosi" system, which has almost nothing to do with the IDF's designated role as "Defense Forces"... This is an army that serves interests in which I do not believe.
Therefore, in the dilemma between doing such service and obeying my conscience, I have no doubt about my decision. The day will come when my decision is appreciated by people who presently deny the horrible reality which we as a society are creating for another people and the damage we are inflicting on the souls of many young Israelis who may not be aware of the moral degradation in which they take part.
Yesh Gvul http://www.yeshgvul.org.il
The settlement in east Jerusalem continues. Another settlement in Sheikh Jarrah was granted a building permit. The settler organizations want to turn another site in the neighborhood, the Shepard Hotel, into a settlement. The Israeli government is leading a violent and dangerous process of Judaizing East Jerusalem whose only purpose is to prevent a future peace agreement. Israel Puterman video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDhZjSdWp24
Late evening, our Jerusalem activist Michael was arrested at his home. He is "suspected as participant in disturbances at the afternoon in Sheikh Jarrah".
Later, after our lawyer comrade threatened to call the reserve (stand by) judge from home he was released on bail and was summoned to appear in court Saturday night.
Saturday night, the police asked for 1500 shekel bail and restriction of 60 days from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The judge criticized the police for unlawful behavior and released Michael without any condition.
The report on the arrest was on the front page of the Haaretz daily.
BEIT OMAR - BEIT JALLA-BETHLEHEM - BIL'IN - IZBAT TABIB - MA'ASARA - NEBI SALEH - NI'ILIN - SHEIKH JARRA - REFUSNICS