Friday, September 28, 2007

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, Wallage, The joint struggle continue 28 Sep 2007

The 138th Friday demonstration was as usual the last few weeks with small variation. It followed the previous Friday spontaneous demonstration. Last week, the Israeli anarchists against the wall activists, were supposed to mainly participate with delegation of activists of Bil'in in the Kutsin Friday demo. Though not a big crowd of villagers and Israelis, with few internationals and Palestinians from the region, it was a happy demonstration. The chanting and sporadic dancing were colored by the recent victory in the partial at the highest court that ordered to move the fence to the west and exclude the cultivated lands of Bil'in. When we arrived at the foot of the hill the gate to the other side of the fence is located, there was the usual barbed wire spool across the road, the declaration of the near by state force commander about the area beyond the barbed wire a closed military zone, and the usually threats.

As usual when we arrived at the block most of us dispersed among the olive trees and advanced towards the near by separation fence. The state force threw the tear gas and shock grenades, but failed to disperse us. Many of us came two near to the soldiers so their grenades became useless, and they were forced to start physical confrontation. The legs of about 6 of us were injured but we refused to leave them to the army treatment and the commander there gave in and ordered the stopping of brutal harassment. After a while, the demonstration was declared finished and we retreated few hundred meters - living the battle ground to the stone throwing youth, observing it for a while before going back to the village.


The Friday demonstration in Wallage - south of Jerusalem.

The Ramadan period had its effect. The less than 50 participants decided to avoid arrests and physical confrontation with the Israeli state forces. The demonstrators marched along the present fence of the colonial settlement, in a peacefull procession.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Palestine-Israel, The Friday joint actions against occupation, roadblocks, and separation fence: Kutsin + Wallage 21 Sep 2007

This Friday we had two actions - One in Kutsin, and one in Wallage. The Kutsin one have shown the serious regard of the state secret services for the "awful" anarchists against the wall initiative and the efforts they make to evade confrontation. As we warned people who registered to the Friday demonstration that there are high probability for arrest (based on last Saturday experience) the secret services miss understood and concluded that we are planning for a very high profile activity.. They prepared a regional commander decree that the area near Kutsin is a closed military zone. they put an armored car on the local road to intercept us. They ordered us to return to Israel, and black mailed us to accept that by threatening the Israeli Palestinian minibus driver with administrative problems. To be sure we will not digress on the way to Israel, we were followed by a police car, secret service car and army armored car too for a while.

At the same Time, a delegation of Palestinian activists from Bil'in, and villagers of Kutsin demonstrated and marched on the road we took together on last Saturday action - the so called "forbidden road" leading to the road block and the military camp near it. (Last Saturday the state force arrested 13 of us, injured 5 and hit people harshly for marching on the forbidden road.) Surprise surprise, though no Israeli was among the demonstrators, the state forces did not interfere with the march, and when they arrived at the road block they found it open.....

The Friday demonstration in the village Wallage - near Bethlehem, was a variation on previous Fridays' actions.

The main point of the demonstration was the combining of the struggle against the separation fence in building, with the road blocks - the older means of restriction of freedom of the Palestinians in the occupied territories. (with the usual success... as the policy of the state forces is to allow the removal of road blocks during the demonstration and restore them soon afterwards.

Following is the report of a comrade who participated in the demo. The article in Hebrew with pictures is at: "Like in every Friday of the last few months, this Friday too, tens of Palestinian peace activists, Israelis* and internationals, arrived for the demonstration against the separation fence which is being built in the Wallage village near Har Gilo.

As the previous demonstration that was at the route of the separation fence was dispersed with high level of violence - with nine injured demonstrators, this week the people choose the way to the main entrance road to the village. With joint efforts, they succeeded to remove the road block and enabled free traffic to the neighboring Palestinian village.

The separation fence which is built on the lands of the village to separate between it ind the colonialist settlement Har Gilo, will encircle the village completely leaving only one entrance under control of the Israeli soldiers. The passage through that entrance will be allowed only inhabitants of the village and will isolate the people of Wallage from the rest of the west bank.
* Mostly organized by the anarchists against the fence initiative.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Palestine-Israel, the week end joint struggle against the separation fence and occupation 15 Sep 2007

On Friday we had two joint demonstrations against the separation fence. one was a continuation of the celebration in Bil'in the partial victory against the route of the separation fence - the Israeli highest court was forced to partially accept the petition of Bil'in against the present route. About 100 Palestinians from Jericho (including the mayor) arrived a bit late for the original plan as they were stopped time and again in road blocks on their way. Thus, after the noon prayer, they joined the Bil'in villager, the internationals, and a small team of the Israeli anarchists against the wall (AATW) in a march on the road to the route of the separation fence. When we were still a long way from the usual point of confrontation with the Israeli state force, we heard their threat to assault us if we come too near... As the 100 guests included also women, and kids, the popular comity decided to stop earlier than usual and have the public meeting there.

When all the participants arrived, speeched and explanations were given. After it ended, the nonviolent demonstrators and the guests returned to the apartment we always meet in and more explanation were given to the guests.

The other Friday demonstration was at the village Wallage. There at noon, 100 of the villagers together with 25 Israelis of the AATW initiative, and about the same number of internationals, approached the area the separation fence is built on. After the mid day prayer of the villages, the demonstrators invaded the route of the fence holding hands and defying the state forces who try to drive them away. There were lot of pushing and pushing back, throwing of tear gas grenades and shooting where they fell to prevent the throwing these back on the soldiers. The gendarmes complained why the reservist soldiers were nearly not active and got one of them to start throwing stones confrontation. After the border gendarmes were issued batons and their starting to use it, the demonstrators dispersed. When the state force drove away they passed near the anarchist car and vent their frustration from the confrontation by breaking its rear window.

On Saturday we had a sample of another joint struggle against the occupation - demonstrations and temporary removal of road blocks that force Palestinians of the occupied West bank to use round about roads and paths instead of the main roads. A planed demonstration and action in the village Sarra was canceled, so the contingent of the AATW who used round about path up the hill to arrive at Sarra had to use another round about rote to get to the demonstration and action in the village Qusin.

Arriving there, we marched together up the road leading to the locked gate on the main and easy road to the near by Nablus. Though there is a military camp near the locked gate, located near a sign forbidding Israeli from passing as it mark Palestinian area A. people succeeded to break the chain locking the gate. After a short celebration all the people started to return to the village.

The state force of the near by camp got organizes a bit late. They came in few cars and tried to block the way of the demonstrators to the village and to punish us on using the road near the camp.

In their efforts they shoot us with tear gas grenade and tried to destroy cameras and video equipment..... but were prevented from doing it. Most of the village people use the hill paths to escape from the state force harassment but two of them, 5 internationals and 6 of the Israeli AATW were detained.

After using round about path the 4 of us who were not arrested arrived at our car and started to participate in the publicity of the action and the support of the people detained. At a certain point we were informed the detained were arrested and will be taken to the regional Ariel police station.

We traveled there and were in time to say hallo to the comrades when they were taken from the military car into the police station for procession.

There we could see the harsh treatment of the two Palestinian comrades who were with tied hands and covered eyes - treatment the others were not suffering.

Gradually, the Israeli and the internationals were released subject to accepting the restriction not to enter closed military zone during the following 15 days signing self bail of 3000 shekel each.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, Selected comments by the representative of the People's Committee in Friday victory demonstration 11 Sep 2007

selected comments by the representative of the People's Committee of Bil'in, Basel Mansour, to the Israeli coalition against the fence and especially to the members of the Anarchists Against The Wall initiative, that participated in the Friday demonstration in the village after the decision by the Israeli High Court] Lovers of peace, friends of freedom and justice... our partners in the struggle and in the creation of this partial victory -- I bless you in the name of our Palestinian people, in the name of the residents of Bil'in, that you came to know, and that came to know you, and that you stood by their side ever since they began their opposition to the fence and the settlement that squats on a large part of their land. You came to us without considering the consequences -- the Zionist occupational government attempts to implant the deceptive and distorted idea that the Palestinans are your enemy and want to kill you. By way of this shared journey, we proved the opposite and together we demonstrated the truth -- that Israelis can stand beside Palestinians and live with them in peace and security, and even struggle with them against injustice and occupation, on the fundamental basis that this occupation is an enemy of humanity.

You succeeded in overcoming the army's roadblocks in order to arrive here through a difficult mountanous path and were vulnerable to its shooting attacks. In this way many of you were wounded by bullets that originated from the unmerciful occupation army -- and not from Palestinians, that the occupation attempts to distort and portray as a vicious animal that wants to devour Israelis or throw them into the sea.

You were braver than your fearful government. You participated in the struggle actively and in every way -- morally, physically, in the courts and in the media. In the battlefield, you were on the frontlines, calling with us for freedom, in your belief that only the manifestation of justice will guarantee the creation of peace and security for our two peoples, and not the building of walls and the expanding of weapons warehouses.

You have been real partners -- awake with us late at night, in confronting the almost daily invasions of village homes by the army; together with us you opposed many attempts to arrest, and you yourselves were injured and arrested -- and you conveyed the true picture to the Israeli society. You disputed the positions of the government and the army in every arena -- until the entire world was a witness to this special connection that was created on the land of Bil'in, that united the conversation and the meeting between cultures, creeds and religions. A connection like this must be victorious, history must immortalize it.

Honourable audience, one of the biggest difficulties in this campaign was how to organize and manage the connection with the Israelis in solidarity, after our Palestinians people have always suffered injustice from the Zionist occupation. This was done while Palestinians aspire to lives of freedom, respect, and culture, and the mobilization of the most amount of Israelis possible and international representatives to stand up to the injustice. Once the Israelis in solidarity understood all of this, they became dedicated to the work and became real warriors that earned the trust of all. They contributed much by revealing the true face of the occupation -- its tactics, its lies and its organized terror against Palestinians -- in opposition to those that attempt to normalize and whitewash the occupation.

These people were always willing to take upon itself whatever was asked of it by the People's Committee, and more than this, often took the initiative, offering ideas and suggestions. In this way, they demonstrated that they were true fighters -- not only fans or friends, or cogs in the machine of the occupation. They are heroes in the non-violent campaign of the brave.

Honourable audience, recently a decision was taken by the body called the Israeli High Court of Justice, to cancel sections of the fence in Bil'in and to return a small amount of the stolen lands. This decision was taken after a long campaign with the participation of peace workers from every land, and the shooting injuries of almost a thousand demonstrators, in addition to tens of arrests and many more assaults.

We went to this occupational court not out of faith in it, but to prove that these courts are nothing but tools of the occupation. They are like a soldier that shoots you in the head and kills you, and then wraps your head in a white cloth, to be portrayed as a first aid worker. In its decision, this court proved to be cowardly and causes injustice, and we turn your attention to the fact that our campaign was against the principle of the wall and not opposition to its route.

Therefore we will continue in our struggle, until the occupational government destroys the wall and the settlements in all of Palestine, and we will build together, with our bodies, real bridges of love and security and peace, in order to conquer the wall and we will crush all of the plans of the occupation until we reach the ocean that knows no border -- and on its safe shores, we will sing the song of freedom and peace, together -- far from the injustices of the occupation and its roadblocks and barriers.

Blessings and respect to all of the Israelis, each and every one individually, that believe in peace and our legitimate rights, and welcome to Bil'in.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in celebration of the struggle against the occupation and the separation fence. 07 Sep 2007

Tuesday morning, even the highest court of Israel that usually support the occupation and the settler colonialist project, had to declare that the two kilometer route of the separation fence cutting the lands of Bil'in as illegal. On hearing the verdict, a preliminary celebration was occurring all day till late evening. This Friday, we intended a bigger celebration at the time of the regular demonstration. More than hundred Israelis of the anarchists against the wall and the coalition against the fence, from all regions of Israel made the way to Bil'in. Still not sure what the state force do, and if they will not try to block our way, we took to the roads earlier. As we arrived earlier without any problem, we start the preliminary celebration together with local activists and participants from the region - including Palestinian dignitaries who came from time to time to the Friday demonstration.

At noon, we started the usual route from the village center to the route of the separation fence. At the head of the procession was driving a car with sound system. After it the demonstrators with lot of Palestinian flags - dancing and singing with slogan shouted in between. In the march participated nearly all the grown up males of the village with a significant minority of females who nearly never participated in the Friday demonstrations.

As we approached the route of the separation fence we have seen that the state force were not deployed in the area between the village and the fence. Indeed, they did not try to prevent us from approaching the gate of the route of the separation fence.

After the people converged at the open area in front of the gate, lot of speeches were carried, including that of the heat of the Palestinian authority, and a member of the village comity which among his words was a prise of the anarchists against the wall that were not only coming to help but were a real partners all along the 30 months of struggle.

After the end of the speeches, people started to sing and dance for a long while before continuing with it all the way back to the center of the village.

Arriving there, the celebration and dancing continued while the Israelis were gradually mounting the transportation back to Israel.

All along the demonstration people talked about the continuance of the Friday demonstrations in Bil'in at least till the present route of the fence will be destroyed.

All along the last few days both the Israeli and international media was telling the story of Bil'in struggle and partial victory - often including the description of the part played in it by the anarchists against the wall.

Pictutes from to day demo-celebration:

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Ireland, Anarchists Against The Wall Fundraiser by Workers Solidarity Movement - WSM 06 Sep 2007

Info night and fundraiser for the AATW Event - Friday, Sep 7 2007 Anarchists Against the Wall (AATW) was formed in 2003 as the highly controversial apartheid wall meant to separate Israelis and Palestinians began construction, and is made up of both Israelis and Palestinians" They have already seen some significant victories. The AATW have been involved in the struggle of the village of Budrus, whose land was to be almost completely confiscated by the Israelis. Through local mobilisation, struggle and popular resistance, Budrus managed to push the path of the wall almost completely off its land instead of vainly appealing to the Israeli courts.

Victories like these have seen local resistance grow immensely in popularity and the AATW is present at any local struggle where its presence is requested.

The army and the Israeli government are however trying to prevent Israeli activists from joining the resistance in any way they can, stopping short of pointing the business end of a rifle at them. Under current law, it's possible to indict people for simply taking part in a demonstration.

Over the years, AATW activists have been arrested hundreds of times and have had over a hundred indictments filed against them. Legal bills now come to over €25,000.

One immediate act of solidarity open to us is to help them with these costs. So we hope you can come along...

FRIDAY, September 7th Seomra Spraoi, 4 Mary's Abbey (off Capel Street/opposite Rhodes restaurant) 8.30pm Film 9.30pm Music Admission €5 (€4 for the unwaged)

Also check out italian fdca site for other english language updates

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Palestine-Israel, Celebration, Israeli Supreme Court verdict of today: the Route of the separation fence in Bil'in is Illegal 04 Sep 2007

This morning at 09:00 was expected the verdict of the Israeli Supreme court on the petition of the Bil'in village about the war crime of the building of the separation fence used to rob most of the lands of the village. The Supreme court that is used to give a "justice" rubber stamp to the occupation and the settler colonialist project can do it only if it is following some kind of logic. Using that kind of logic forced the supreme court to restrict the war crimes of Israel in the occupied territories. The joint struggle in Bil'in of the village popular comity together with the Israeli anarchists against the wall initiative, forced the highest court to intervene. After two and a half years of refusing to give a prompt verdict, it had to follow its own principles of justifying the separation fence, and ordered the settler colonialist establishment to retreat a bit.

In a verdict released today (Sept 4, 2007) in the petition of the village Bil'in against the separation barrier (HCJ 8414/05), by Judges Beinish, Prokachya and Rivlin, the Supreme Court ruled against the current route of the barrier and ordered the State to prepare within reasonable time a proposal for an alternative route, which will leave the agricultural lands of Bil'in on the "Palestinian" side of the barrier. The Court said that the current route was designed to allow the construction of the two stages of the Matityahu East neighborhood in the settlement Modi'in Illit - both the Western stage (where building took place) and the Eastern part (not yet built). The Judges ruled that the Eastern part is not a consideration to be taken while deciding about the route of the barrier. Exceptionally, the Judges also wondered about the security considerations guiding the planners of the wall - saying that the route of the barrier in Bil'in stretches in topographically inferior areas, in order to allow the construction of the full area of the Matityahu East neighborhood.

The Court decided that until the barrier is completed in the new route, the gate in the barrier is to remain open daily between 6:00 am and 20:00 pm.

The preparation which were done in order to face a negative verdict of the highest court were easily adapted to the positive verdict. The celebrations started with the party given late morning to the international and local media. Activists of the village and of the region involved with the struggle in Bil'in continued the celebration in the streets and in the municipality building. On the afternoon the main contingent of the anarchists against the wall arrived from the near by Israeli Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and the celebration collected momentum. With music and dancing we converged first in the center of the village and then the hundreds of us Palestinian women, men, teenagers and kids, Israelis of the AATW continued the procession all along the road leading to the route of the separation fence. At the gate to the other side of the route, instead of the belligerent soldiers and border guards who attack us each Friday demonstration, there were few soldiers just guarding the gate.

After few sweet minutes of celebration there, we changed direction and did the dancing and singing all the way back to the center of the village.

After the evening prayer, few of the long time activists traveled to have a party at the near by city Ramalla.

All the TV channels reported in the evening main news program about the verdict and the celebration of the long struggle.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Palestine-Israel, The entrance to Karmei Tzur settlement blocked with razor wire, 02/09/2007

A group of 15 Palestinian, Israeli and international activists have blocked the entrance to Karmei Zur Settlement today. The entrance to the Karmei Tzur settlement, which is built on the lands of the Palestinian villages Halhul and Beit Umar, was blocked by a group of about 15 Palestinian, Israeli and international activists. To block the road activists chose to symbolically use razor wire that was taken from the fence that circles the settlement, and prevents Palestinians from accessing their land. A sign reading "Mortal Danger-Military Zone. Any person who passes or damages the fence endangers his life", which was taken from the wall in the area, was hung on the razor wire.

Flyers that were left on the road, reminded settlers that while their freedom of movement is being shortly and symbolically interrupted, the daily Palestinian reality, greatly to settlers convenience, is such of checkpoints, roadblocks, fences, apartheid roads and military occupation.
Copied from the - the web site of the Anarchists Against The Wall

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Palestine-Israel, The joint struggle in Bil'in, Wadi Nis and Wallage (south Bethlehem), and Sarra (south Nablus) 01 Sep 2007

In Bil'in - the most persistent location of struggle against the occupation and the separation fence, it was the 134th Friday demonstration. As usual, it consisted of Palestinians from the village and the region, Israelis of the anarchists against the wall initiative, and internationals. As usual, after the noon march from the village towards the route of the separation fence we arrived at the foot of the hill the gate to the other half of the village lands is located on. As usual the commander of the state force declared from a distance that the barbed wire spool crossing the road at the foot of the hill mark the forbidden military zone - threatening with punishment who ever cross it. As usual, after converging there we started to cross the line. But, as it happened in the past with the shock grenades, we learned to evade the tear gas ones and after a short confrontation many of us crossed the forbidden line and were too near to the state force for them to use tear gas on us.

After they detained two Israelis and one international activists they took their time. For a while we had there a verbal conflict only, and later the state force started to push us physically back - adding batons work that injured me and two other comrades of the village activists. The refusal of the comrades to yield to the pressure of the state force till the injured ones will be taken care of made the state force stop their offensive. After we were treated by the medics team of the ambulance, we returned to the village - leaving the space to the usual confrontation between the state force and the stones throwing kids.

The comrades detained were taken to the regional police station and were released 5 hours later with two weeks restriction from participation in the Friday demonstrations at the separation fence of Bil'in.

Links to video clips from previous Friday demonstration:

Link to video clip from this Friday demonstration:

===== Sarra =====

The second joint struggle Friday demonstration was at the village Sarra in the region south of Nablus. Following is a text describing the situation there and a call for this Friday demonstration:

"On the 25th August, Israeli Occupation Forces entered the village of Sarra to close a roadblock that had been previously opened. The Monday before, (20th August) international activists joined Palestinian villagers in removing a road block that turned a 5 minute journey to Nablus into half an hour. There was to be another demonstration the Friday after, but it was canceled because the local mayor said the DCO had told him they would open the roadblock permanently on Saturday.

The activists that were ready to join the demonstration were dubious over the generosity of the military and saw it as a potential tactic to avert the demonstration, and it turned out it was. The soldiers came on Saturday, forcing a Palestinian villager to use his tractor to close the roadblock. After the soldiers left, the man re-opened the roadblock. Then the soldiers came again, however this time at night. From one in the morning to 2:30am they entered homes and interrogated the inhabitants, occupied houses and kicked out the families inside, confiscated knives and CDs from houses, pushed people around and shot live ammunition into the doorways of shops and homes, as well as into the water tanks above the homes.

International Human Rights Workers went the day after to take pictures of the damage and speak to the people living there. The people spoken to were convinced that trusting the Israelis was no longer an option. They had shown their goodwill by canceling a demonstration at the suggestion the roadblocks would be opened and had been penalized for their good faith. They Israelis had shown that they were interested in only one thing, the continued harassment of Palestinians in the open air prisons their towns are becoming.

Many people now are ready to demonstrate non-violently this Friday, August 31, at 1:00pm, after the prayer. They are calling on all people who are interested in joining their struggle against injustice to join them on this day. People are talking about bringing signs and Palestinian flags, and as we are organizing people from all around the area we are limited only by our creativity."

The Israeli anarchists against the wall initiative was invited weeks ago to join the struggle at Sarra as partners. A contingent of our comrades participated there in this Friday demonstration.

It was a big demonstration with few hundred participants. The peak of the demonstration was the removal again of the blocks of the road blocks. The state forces used a "small dose" of tear gas and detained three Israeli activists who were taken to Ariel police station and released at the late evening.

======= South of Bethlehem 31.8.07 =====

A comrade reported:
"We started the day in Wadi Nis - about 40 internationals, 30 Palestinians and 5 Israelis of the AATW. in the opening speech of the demonstration it was said that it marks the sixth yearly commemoration of Mustafa Abu-Ali by Israel, and as the occasion fit give respect to the memory of all the other Palestinian martyrs murdered in the extermination actions of Israel.

We marched from the village towards the road marking the route of the separation fence, on its sides week after week other components of the advancing fence appear.

The Israeli state force positioned near by did not approach us and we crossed the route where the fence will be built along it, to the confiscated Palestinian lands on the North-West side of it. We passed between grapes carrying vines and the peasants invited us to eat from them.

After a short time border police and army approached us and blocked our way. The villagers explained that we are going to peace of land located near the settler colony Efrat, the Israeli court recognized the ownership of it by one of them. The army and police insisted that we cannot pass there as the area is declared a closed military zone and the demonstration must disperse during the following minutes. (During the short confrontation settlers from the Efrat colony congregated behind the soldiers.)

We responded to the demand by siting down and continued eating grapes. After an exchange of give and take, the organizers decided that the demonstration already delivered the message, and agreed that we return to the village following statement of the state force that the owner of the land will be allowed to go by himself to check the condition of the land near the settlement.

When we returned to the village we heard that a demonstration in the near by Wallage is about to start.... so many of the participants - Palestinians, Internationals, and Israelis took cars and try to go there but only part of us arrived as the others were blocked in the roadblocks.

The demonstration in Wallage started by prayer on the main road of the village. During the prayer, a team of border police entered the village and confiscated tires they found under a tree. After the prayer we marched - few dozens of the village people with Israelis, internationals and Palestinians from the other demonstration - up the hill on which were parked machines used for building the fence. The state force which previously intervened in Wadi Nis stopped us on our way declaring again that the area is a closed military zone. Here again the villagers informed the state force that an Israeli court recognized the ownership of the land by a local Palestinian. We also set down on the ground holding hands in preparation for non violent resistance and chanting slogans against the separation fence and the occupation.

The army drove away the media workers (mainly photographers) in preparation for a violent eviction. At that stage there started a dispute among the municipality comity members about the continuation of the demonstration, and at the end it was decided to refrain from confrontation with the state force and to yield to their demand to return to the village".