Saturday, February 24, 2007

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, celebration of two years of Friday demonstrations against the fence and the occupation. 24 Feb 2007

In a way, it was the best demonstration for a long long time. There were many more participants in addition to the regulars: Palestinians from Bil'in and from the near by region, ISM internationals, and anarchists against the wall initiative. There were around 100 Palestinians from south Bethlehem (Al Hader, and Um Salamunah),and were more than a 100 of the extended Israeli coalition for the struggle against the fence. And of course media teams - including Israel first TV chanel, and Al Jazira who broadcasted live from the demonstration. For the guest, the walls of the road at the center of village were covered with pictures from demonstrations and other direct actions against the separation fence in Bil'in. Along the road were also the main creative art constructs and devices carried at the heads of demonstrations along the years.

We marched as usual at noon from center of the village on the road leading to the route of the separation fence. As usual, along the way people chanted and on occasion started a circle dance.

At the end of the march we arrived at the blocked gate to the route of the separation fence - an electronic fence, with two roads on its sides, two fences on the sides of the roads, and spools of razor wire and a tunnel on the Bil'in side of the route. There started the low intensity confrontation with the Israeli state force - mainly verbal. One of the participants gave a speech, and long after it the stone throwers - who do not accept nor respect the nonviolent mode of the village popular comity which is organizing the Friday demonstrations started to throw stones towards the the Israeli soldiers. These started as usual to throw and shoot shock grenades and tear gas canister and even shooting rubber coated bullets.

Anticipating this harassment a contingent of activists went along the route of the separation fence - pulling the spool of wire and drawing some of the state force away from the main body of the demonstration. by pooling the spools the state force found itself obliged to send soldiers who responded with shock and tear gas grenades. We could see from a bit far away point how the state force try to drive away both the stone throwers and the nonviolent demonstrators. They succeeded to drive away the stone throwers and the less experienced demonstrators, but as usual they failed to drive away the more experienced and the more daring ones. In spite of a water canon and other means, some demonstrators even entered for a while the route of the fence before being driven away.

Then, the intensity of the confrontation decreased, while hundreds of demonstrations took it easy in the sunny spring day with good company near the gate to the route while over confronted the state forces verbally.

After an hour of intense confrontation and an hour of taking it easy we started to return to the village. The state force were not too happy to see us returning to the village peacefully and shoot tear gas canisters just for their fun. We were taking rest on the way, looking at the confrontation at the olive trees groove on the side of the road between state force and stone throwing youngsters and kids. The state force were not too happy with our looking at this happening and showered us with tear gas forcing us to return faster to the village.

On our way home, we stop at the neighboring village - to let another car pass, a young person blessed us about our demonstration - said he seen it in Al Jazira TV and promised to join us next Friday demo in Bil'in.

At the main weekend TV reportage program of chanel 1, they gave a nice reportage on the demonstration. They reported about 16 people injured and two arrested Israelis.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, 104 + 2 Friday demos, and more are coming. 16 Feb 2007

This Friday demonstration was with all of us waiting for the the verdict of the Israeli highest court of "justice" about the route of the separation fence that separate between the village and more than half of its lands. At noon, we started the march towards the route of the separation fence. Chanting, dancing, with placards and flags. Palestinians of the region, internationals, and Israelis of the anarchists against the fence initiative. Near the last buildings of the village we passed the gendarmes of the border police provocateurs, telling them what we think about them and the role they play. Not long later we arrived at the blocked gate to the route of the fence and the village lands west of it.

At the blocked gate, there was the usual low level confrontation - verbal mainly. After a while, some kids threw eggs on the soldiers who retaliated with shock grenades - signaling to the near by stone throwers to do their act and then run away.

As usual, the soldier tried to use it as excuse and drive away the nonviolent demonstrators... and as usually they failed. While trying to to drive us away they tried to arrest Palestinians - to replace the one arrested at previous Friday demo, who was released on the order of a military judge who had seen the video clips and claim the soldiers complains were just lies. As our comrades dearested any one they tried to arrest, they retaliated by hitting Palestinians and Israelis, as well as showering on us tear gas when we decided to return to the village. One Palestinian comrade was taken to hospital. Two Israelis - one was shoot at with tear gas canister which hit his ribs, the other has cuts on his head and bruised hand, were treated at the village and returned to Israel for further treatment.

The army spokesperson alleged that the Israeli whose head was injured (comrade J. "just slipped on a rock...." but I seen in my own eyes how he was lying on the ground - far from any rock... with soldiers around him hitting his head he covered with his jacket to minimize the damage.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Israel-Palestine, The struggle is not only the Friday demonstrations in Bil'in..... 13 Feb 2007

Saturday, 10-02-07, anarchists and some other activists - about 30 people demonstrated near the fences of the military prison. It was a solidarity action with of Hadas Amit. She is serving the forth term of few weeks each for refusing to be conscripted to the mandatory service in the army. Sunday was a diferent kind of action. It was a mini project within the joint struggle of the Palestinian Bil'in village popular comity and the Israeli anarchists against the wall initiative people. About 30 activists with with digging tools and olive tree saplings. We converged at two of the Village fields enclosed within the already robed lands at the West of the separation fence. One aspect of the action was to work the land and replant there olive trees instead of the original groove destroyed by the collonial settler city building. This may be essential to prevent confiscation of these fields by the occupation administrative. Following is an article about the other aspect of the action - exposing the frauds of the settler colonialist building project in cooperation with the occupation administrative. - the web site of the anarchist against the wall initiative:

Uncovering the lies of the Civil Administration in the lands of Bil'in 11/02/2007

On February 11th 2007, the Civil Administration's Planning Board published an ad in Ha'aretz to notify the public that it decided to approve the new scheme for the Matityahu East neighborhood in the settlement Modi'in Illit, on the lands of Bil'in west of the wall. Under the Planning Law affective in the West Bank, the scheme will be valid 15 days after the publication of the ad.

On that very day, a group of Palestinians, Israelis and Internationalists decided to provide a solid proof that the Planning Board approved a scheme although the conditions that very board stipulated were not met yet. And such a proof was indeed provided.

An exposed sewage pipe, a meter and a half undergroundAn exposed sewage pipe, a meter and a half underground

One of the paragraphs in the new 210/8/1 scheme for Matityahu East says that a pre-condition for the very approval of the scheme is the restoration of enclaves owned, even according to the Civil Administration, by Palestinians from Bil'in. During the illegal construction activities in the compound, two of the enclaves were practically destroyed: on one of them, Green Park, one of the construction companies, built a house. On the second enclave, the companies paved the main road of the neighborhood, its width being 30 meters. Other enclaves were also damaged, but to a lesser extent, since they are located further away from the first-stage development area.

The scheme further demands that all building in the enclave should be destroyed, and that all ruins should be removed completely. This is also a pre-condition for the approval of the scheme itself.

On January 17th the Planning Board assembled to approve the scheme. Its members were presented with photographic evidence showing that the two enclaves were not properly restored. In both infrastructure remained buried underneath, making any future agricultural use of the land unlikely. In any case, the representative of Bil'in argued, the fact that infrastructure remained there contradicts the specific requirement to restore the enclaves, and since this pre-condition was not met, the Board should not approve the scheme.

But as can be expected from the highest planning institution of the occupation, the scheme was approved on that very day – with the vague excuse that it was not proven that building or building ruins remained in the enclaves.

An Israeli anarchist digging to uncover evidenceAn Israeli anarchist digging to uncover evidence

This conclusion was exactly what we went to contradict last Sunday. At around 11:00 am, we moved pass the fence of Matityahu East and into one of the enclaves. Later on we moved further to the most western enclave, not far away. On that western enclave we managed to uncover a concrete plate buried under the dirt, not before the security inspector of Modi'in Illit called the army and police and we were shortly chased away from there.

In the meantime some of us continued digging in the much larger first enclave. There we discovered many surprises: a complete telephone network box buried under the ground, leading telephone lines through the enclave and to the houses further east; a huge sewage pipe going from the houses through the enclave to the local sewage factory down the road; and a segment of the asphalt road and pavement which the construction companies left untouched buried under a thin layer of dirt.

All this hard-evidence will be put shortly into legal use in the upcoming new Court petition against the approval of the scheme. Our joint action proved once again that the Civil Administration's Planning Board is doing hand in hand with the settlers' construction companies to promote the settlements enterprise – even when the conditions this very Board stipulated are not met. See pictures at

See video clip shown in the first TV chanel main news program (in Hebrew)

Friday, February 9, 2007

Palestine-Israel, Friday noon, Bil'in, the joint struggle against the separation fence and occupation persist 09 Feb 2007

This Friday noon we marched again from the center of the village to the route of the separation fence that is used to robe more than half of the lands of the villagers. As usual, Palestinians from the region, Internationals, and Israelis of the anarchists against the fence initiative. at the last intersection of the village, gendarmes of the border police stood along the road - today they did not try to hide among the houses. After ridiculing them for a while, we continued to march toward the route of the separation fence. When we arrived there, we started the usual low intensity confrontation - mostly verbal, with the soldiers blocking the gate. However, after few minutes, the opponents of the non violent mode of struggle started to throw stones on the soldiers who responded with shock grenades and shooting rubber coated bullets.

As in previous times, the soldiers tried to drive away also the nonviolent demonstrators, but as in the previous weeks, the shock grenades and physical push and drug did not help them a bit. We resisted till they stop trying.

After a while, we decided to end the demo and returned to the village.

As in usual Fridays, the village stone throwing kids who did not come to the route of the fence confronted the gendarmes who came just for that to the village.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Palestine-Israel, another joint Friday demonstration against the separation fence and occupation in Bilin, and Um Salamuna 03 Feb 2007

At noon we started as usual - Palestinians from Bil'in and the region, international activists, Israelis from the anarchists against the wall initiative, and media workers.... The theme of the creative structure was the call for the end of killing of Palestinians by Palestinians. We marched on the road to the route of the separation fence chanting and some time even dancing... At the head of the demo was a big sign reading "the internal killings" with mock nooses tied to it, and around the necks of a few Palestinian activists. As usual we seen at the fringe of the built area gendarmes of the border police waiting as provocateurs for the kids of the village to start throwing stones on them so they will be able to retaliate with grenades and rubber coated bullets and refute the claim that the struggle in Bil'in is nonviolent. Just as the last participants in the demo exited the village, we could already hear the beginning of the confrontation between the kids and the gendarmes.

When we arrived at the blocked gate to the route of the separation fence, began the low intensity confrontation. first verbal, later the soldiers used their batons to deter the ones trying to open the gate. Some of us started to pull the razor wire spools fortifying the gate, and later at a point 50 meter away they started to pull the spools of the razor wire fortifying the fence to the route the electronic fence pass in its middle. This was too much for the soldiers who started to throw shock grenades, which did not really deterred the activity.

However, the stone throwers who accompanied the demonstration could not refrain any more from stone throwing, and thus, the soldiers moved to the second mode - throwing both shock and tear gas grenades on both the stone throwers and the nonviolent demonstrators, shooting on the stone throwers, and violently try to drive the nonviolent demonstrators towards the village... with plenty of baton work.

Part of the demonstrators regrouped to area near the blocked gate where they confronted soldiers who were brutally beating a Palestinian demonstrator, and trying to arrest him. They eventually gave up on the arrest after demonstrators piled around him. As their pride hurt, the soldiers insisted on making another baseless arrest, and after a short scuffle with Israeli anarchists who tried to stop them, dragged Farhat Burnat, a 26 year old from the village, past the gate towards the army's staging area.

Farhat was later taken to a police station in a nearby settlement, and is falsely accused of assaulting a soldier. His arrest was extended by 96 hours and he was sent to a military detention camp. Under Israeli law, the police can only hold a person for 24 hours before being brought in front of a judge. Palestinians however live under military rule, and can be held for 96 hours before being brought in front of a judge

There and then, in a rare display of emotion, an Arabic speaking soldier, apparently of Druze origin (on which there is mandatory service in the army), started crying after villagers asked him how can he come and actively banish them from their lands, while even a group of Israelis stand by them. His commanders swiftly took him back to the army's staging area, shortening the enactment of one of Israel's "enlightened occupation" myths – shooting and crying.

This phase of the struggle continued more than an hour, till all the demonstrators returned to the village - leaving behind the battle zone between the kids and the gendarmes.

This Friday, "only" five people were injured this week. Three of them by rubber coated steel bullets, and two from beatings.

See another report and pictures at:

Um Salamuna
Israelis were invited to the third Friday activity in the struggle against the separation fence in the region south of Bethlehem on lands recently bulldozed for the wall.
This Friday noon there was a small demonstration. Less than a hundred people - including few international activists of the ISM and Israelis of the anarchists against the wall initiative. Contacts were established for further steps in the struggle in that region.